Rob Waters, founding editor, is an award-winning health and mental health journalist and contributing writer to Health Affairs. Waters has worked as a staff reporter or editor at Bloomberg News, Time Inc. Health and Psychotherapy Networker. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Kaiser Health News, STAT, the Atlantic.com, Mother Jones and many other outlets. He was a 2005 fellow with the Carter Center for Mental Health Journalism. In 2021, his mental health reporting was honored by the Association of Health Care Journalists, the National Institute for Health Care Management, and the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California.
Diana Hembree, MS, founding co-editor, is a health and science journalist who has won more than two dozen national awards. Hembree served as the longtime editor in chief and AVP of the medical content startup Consumer Health Interactive, which included channels on mental health and depression and reached more than 3 million unique visitors a month. She served as a senior editor at Time Inc. Health and its physician’s magazine, Hippocrates, and as news editor at the Center for Investigative Reporting for more than 10 years. She worked as a science writer for the Center for Youth Wellness, a non-profit that focused on childhood trauma and resilience, and is currently a content strategist for the Center for Care Innovations. Bonus fact: While studying psychobiology at college, she taught rats how to play soccer using operant conditioning.
Akintunde Ahmad is a multimedia journalist focusing on the intersection of education, economic inequality, and the justice system. Ahmad, an East Oakland native, holds a BA in sociology from Yale University and an MS in journalism and documentary film from Columbia University. His written work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Appeal, Columbia Journalism Review, and The Guardian. He has been featured on broadcasts ranging from The Ellen Show to Sway in the Morning. He has been an Ida B Wells Fellow with Type Investigations, a teacher for the Oakland Unified School District’s African American Male Achievement Program, and a fellow for the Columbia Journalism Review. He currently works as a documentary film producer for Proximity Media and is the co-host of the podcast – Viewers Like Us.
Nell Bernstein is the author of Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison and All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated, both published by The New Press. Burning Down the House won the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association and was named one the Best Big Ideas of 2014 by The Daily Beast and a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly. All Alone in the World was selected as a pick of the week by Newsweek, a best book of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, and a top ten book of the year by the Online Review of Books. Both books have been adopted into the curricula of universities across the country. Bernstein has lectured widely and written for publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Marshall Project, and has made numerous radio and television appearances, including NRP’s Fresh Air and MSNBC. Prior to that, she was editor in chief of YO! (Youth Outlook), a magazine by and about young people. She was a Soros Justice Media Fellow in New York and has received a White House Champion of Change award for her advocacy on behalf of children of incarcerated parents.
Neha Chaudhary, MD, is a writer and medical journalist who writes for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, Wired, CNN, ABC News and the ABC News Medical Unit, and other outlets. She is also a double board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist on faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Brainstorm, Stanford’s Lab for Mental Health Innovation. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology and mental health, including using tech to promote early intervention and resilience in children. As she has said, she is a strong believer in the power of journalism and storytelling to make mental health mainstream.
Sarah Corcoran serves as Guide Consulting Service’s vice president of government relations, bringing a decade of experience working with federal agencies such as DHS, HHS, and DOJ. She works with clients to craft legislative and regulatory strategies and leads all public affairs operations, grassroots outreach and social media strategy for clients. She manages GCS operations and staff, and provides legislative research and analysis, and regulatory/legislative drafting. She co-authored and successfully managed several multimillion-dollar DOJ and HHS federal grants and also has worked as an independent political columnist and book editor. She received her bachelor of arts in political science, United States history and sociology from Arizona State University magna cum laude and attended law school at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
Kenny Foster runs his own digital communications firm, Fostering Strategies. He spent four years as the first digital manager for Californians for Safety and Justice, running its social media, email marketing, and website development. Before that, he was an independent contractor working with social justice organizations in the Bay Area. He worked for YR Media (Youth Radio) for five years, where he did podcast recording and editing; as a strategist and communications fellow at Wonder: Strategies for Good; and as a web designer for nonprofits such as the Center for Youth Wellness. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Communications (emphasis on Digital Communications). He credits his passion for social justice to the stories told by his father, who grew up in segregated Mississippi.
Sarah Henry is a San Francisco Bay Area-based storyteller. The author of Hungry for Change and Farmsteads of the California Coast, she has covered food culture—including its impact on human and environmental health—for many years. She also writes about health care innovation, including in the mental health field. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic, and The Australian Magazine, among other outlets. She got her start in journalism at the Center for Investigative Reporting, where she focused on the social justice beat.
Julianne Hill is an award-winning reporter based in Chicago whose stories have appeared on PBS, NPR’s This American Life, Morning Edition and The History Channel. She was a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow and earned a National Press Foundation Fellowship for reporting on HIV-AIDS. She worked as a team member earning the George Foster Peabody Award for the PBS science show, The New Explorers. Her investigation into New Hampshire’s policy of sending mental health patients who have committed no crimes to the state prison prompted the governor to change the state budget to build a new hospital and earned Hill her fourth Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Chicago chapter. Currently, she serves as managing editor of Youthcast Media Group.
Matthew Hirschtritt, MD, MPH, is a clinical psychiatrist with The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.; a mental health services researcher with the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California; and an assistant program director of the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Adult Psychiatry Training Program. His research work has covered diverse topics, ranging from pharmacotherapy for childhood mental disorders, to the epidemiology of Tourette syndrome, the needs of court-involved youth, and the mental health correlates of excessive alcohol use. His current research focuses on identification and treatment of patients with first-episode psychosis, as well as implementation of a telehealth-based mental health evaluation and referral program.
Diana Kapp, MBA, is a journalist whose work has taken her inside San Quentin prison and to war-torn Afghanistan. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, MORE Magazine, O: the Oprah Magazine, and California Sunday Magazine, among other outlets. Her first book, Girls Who Run the World, is due out in October with Random House Delacorte. She loves the Sawtooth Mountains, Neil Young, her 5 am running club, and climbing mountains. As Kapp reports, she is also a wannabe “rancher” (see www.idahorocky.com).
Holly Korbey is an education and parenting journalist. She is the author of Building Better Citizens, and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, and many other outlets. She has been a regular contributor on education for Edutopia as well as National Public Radio’s MindShift blog. She lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family. Find her on Twitter @HKorbey.
Michele Cohen Marill graduated from Northwestern University with a BSJ in magazine journalism. She has served as a contributing editor of Atlanta magazine and as a freelance health and medical writer for several decades. A former national correspondent for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, she has written for Health Affairs, STAT, and Nature Medicine and is a regular writer for Wired and Medscape. In Health Affairs, she recently reported on the conversion of Georgia’s infamous Central State Hospital in Milledgeville (once called the Georgia Lunatic Asylum) to community mental health centers with an emphasis on peer-based support.
Veronica Ortega, PhD, is a clinical, developmental and community psychologist turned journalist with a focus on mental health. She has been a practicing clinical psychologist, consultant and trainer, and a college professor. She is using her years of experience to develop stories that educate the public about the many issues related to mental health and wellness, or that explain the latest research findings.
TaSin Sabir has a fine arts degree in photography from the California College of the Arts, for which she was awarded a portfolio scholarship. An Oakland native, TaSin’s artwork has been exhibited all around the Bay Area and the country. TaSin has published two photography books: Madagascar Made and 100 Families Oakland. She owns her own graphics art business and freelances regularly for a San Francisco newspaper based in the BayView district that is distributed to the incarcerated.
Don Sapatkin is an independent journalist who reports on science and health care. His primary focus for nearly two decades has been public health, especially policy, access to care, health disparities and behavioral health, notably opioid addiction and treatment. Don previously was a staff editor for Politico and a reporter and editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and is based in Philadelphia.
Laurie Udesky has been a reporter and editor for more than 25 years, reporting on mental health, social welfare, health equity and public policy issues. Her stories have been carried by outlets ranging from Kaiser Health News and the Los Angeles Times to the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. She spent five years as a foreign correspondent in Turkey for outlets including the Dallas Morning News, salon.com and National Public Radio. She has won many national and regional journalism awards, including those in competitions held by Investigative Reporters & Editors, the Sidney Hillman Foundation, the Exceptional Merit Media Awards and the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists, the latter of which honored her for an investigative story on family courts called “Custody in Crisis” and a three-part audio series called “Out of the Shadows: Battling the Stigma of Depression.” Udesky has also been awarded three journalism fellowships, including a Robert Wood Johnson fellowship.