Session Title: This is my brave, one person, one story at a time!
Moderator: Denise Davis-Cotton, Author-Educator, USF Center for PAInT
Panelist: Angela Hill, Professor & Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, Taneja College of Pharmacy/ University of South Florida
Panelist: Kyaien Conner, Associate Professor, University of South Florida
Panelist: Kristin Kosyluk, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida
Panelist: Erin Gallagher, Interim Executive Director, This Is My Brave, Inc.
Panelist: Katie Grana, Director of Programming, This Is My Brave, Inc.
Watch the session: https://app.knowmia.com/YHIm
Session description: This discussion on mental health highlights This Is My Brave, Inc. (TIMB), which is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. TIMB provides a platform for individuals to share their personal stories of overcoming mental illness and addiction in stage production through creative means. This Is My Brave – The Show is a live presentation of touching essays, original music, poetry and comedy performed by a dozen individuals living with – or loving someone with – a mental illness. We believe in the power of storytelling to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness. The vision of TIMB is to one day live in a world where we won’t call it “brave” to talk openly about mental illness. We’ll simply call it talking.
Denise Davis-Cotton: Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton is recognized as a leading authority in arts integrated teaching. and she is an accomplished curriculum designer that concentrates on cultural-inclusive education, arts as central to education, and new school/program development. She is the Director of the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (Center for PAInT) at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. She currently serves as the Ex Officio Chair of the Manatee Arts Education Council (MAEC). Dr. Cotton is a Milken Foundation internationally recognized educator. She served a National Past President of Arts Schools Network, where she is an active Board member. Dr. Cotton is the Founder and served as the first principal of Detroit School of Arts. She is the author of the book, Losing My Mind over Education (Finding My Way Back to Me). She has established the reputation as an extremely capable, effective, community and civic leader, and representative for comprehensive arts-integrated education to provide access, equity, inclusion, and equitable practices, and a sense of belonging for marginalized students. Her demonstration of the highest level of professional commitment allows her to share with others her belief in the importance of socio-cultural engagement in teaching and learning; thereby, garnering her the distinct honor as a woman of vision, keen insight, and action. She received the Alan Locke National Award from the Detroit Institute of Arts; two Keys to the City of Montgomery (Alabama) and she received the Congressional Record Recognition by the 106th Congress. She is a Distinguished Alumni – Alabama State University and Educator of the Year – Wayne State University. Arts Schools Network presents an award “The Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader Award” for school leaders who promote sustaining arts programs in their schools.
Angela Hill: Dr Angela Hill is the Professor and Associate Dean of Clinical Practice at the USF Taneja College of Pharmacy. She joined the College in 2011 as the Founding Chair of TCOP’s Department of Pharmacotherapeutics and Clinical Research. As a pharmacist, Dr Hill has worked and consulted for community pharmacy practice, outpatient substance abuse treatment programs, and carved out speciality areas of practice to include, but not be limited to geriatrics, psychiatry, neurology, alternative medicine, and substance abuse. She is the pharmacy consultant for Reliance Medical Centers, the USF Health Neuroscience/Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute where she is involved in comprehensive medication reviews, patient visits, investigational drug-related research and community outreach. She also has provided clinical services at Royal Sun Memory Care Assisted Living Facility and is a consultant for Turning Point of Tampa. One of her duties as the Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs includes her serving as the project manager for WE-CARE, a community-based participatory research entity within the College of Pharmacy where she coordinates activities within the community to recruit, retain, and educate underrepresented groups on research participation and other health issues to close the gap on health disparities. Prior to joining USF, Dr Hill taught at Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy where she honed her skills in mental health at Florida State Hospital, Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Behavioral Health Department, Apalachee Mental Health, and group homes, independent and assisted living facilities and community practice. Dr Hill received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Florida A&M University, received postgraduate training in the neurosciences, holds a certificate in Medication Management, and is a registered and consultant pharmacist in the State of Florida.
Kyaien Conner: Dr. Kyaien Conner is an Associate Professor of Mental Health Law and Policy at the University of South Florida. She is a licensed clinical social worker by profession. Dr. Conner received her BS in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has a Masters degree in Social Work and a Masters in Public Health with a specialization in Minority Health and Health Disparities. She has a PhD in Social Work and post-doctoral training in community psychiatry. Dr. Conner’s research investigates the factors that influence disparities in health service utilization and treatment outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. And examines culturally meaningful approaches to improving behavioral health and reducing stigma. Dr. Conner has received over 3 million dollars in funding for her research on behavioral health disparities. Dr. Conner has 50 publications that speak to the impact of her work, and she has presented at over 45 scientific conferences in the United States and Internationally.
Kristen Kosyluk: Dr. Kristin Kosyluk is an Assistant Professor of Mental Health Law & Policy at the University of South Florida in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences. She is also Faculty Affiliate of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Hillsborough County, and an Editorial Board member for the journal, Stigma & Health. Dr. Kosyluk is the Director of the STigma Action Research (STAR) Lab at USF. All of the STAR Lab’s research focuses on understanding and addressing the stigma surrounding mental illness. She is serving as the Production Manager for the This Is My Brave College Edition: a OneUSF Production and has served as the lead evaluator of This Is My Brave’s programming for the past six years.
Erin Gallagher: Erin is proud to be a part of the This is My Brave team as Interim Executive Director. Following the suicide of her son, Jay, in 2016, Erin and her husband became passionate mental health advocates and have worked tirelessly to influence policy on appropriate responses, particularly in the public schools, to suicide warning signs. She enjoys working with This Is My Brave volunteers towards ending the stigma associated with mental health and substance use disorders in honor of Jay. When Erin is not working, she enjoys spending time at her alma mater, James Madison University, visiting her oldest daughter, Lindsay, who is currently a Senior majoring in nursing. She also loves logging hours with husband Tim while watching fast-pitch softball played by her youngest, Laurenne, who is now a Freshman at Mt St. Mary’s University in Maryland.
Katire Grana: Katie was diagnosed with PTSD-induced anxiety and depression after being robbed at gunpoint in 2010. Not really understanding how trauma can have such powerful mental and physical effects, her tipping point was losing a friend in a car accident the following year. She spent her 20’s redefining herself and learning to heal through trauma. Katie found This Is My Brave after a close friend died by suicide in June 2018 and quickly decided to produce a show. This Is My Brave was something she wanted to share with her community. When a full time position opened up with This Is My Brave, Katie knew it was time to move from the corporate world back to her roots in nonprofit. Katie lives in St. Louis, MO with her two dogs. She loves spending time with her friends and family – especially her niece and nephew.