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Panelists


Due to the University of Michigan campus response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Why I Fight performances, panels and related events are all postponed until March 81-21, 2021. 

Following each performance, a unique panel will be called to the stage featuring health practitioners, research faculty from U-M and other institutions, creative writers, artists, and those living with mental illness. Please find the panelists' biographies below who were scheduled for March 2020. 
 

Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel s currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is Director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry, and an attending physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. At Mount Sinai, he designed and teaches the ethics curriculum for the first and second year medical students, lectures in the psychiatric clerkship, and runs the ethics courses for the psychiatry residents. He also established and supervises a creative writing elective for the medical students. He serves on the medical school’s admissions committee, grievance committee and institutional review board. Jacob is also the author of four literary novels including Millard Salter's Last Day (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, 2017), nine short story collections, an essay collection, a cozy mystery, a thriller and a volume of poems. Prior to joining the faculty at Mount Sinai, Jacob taught most recently at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City, and at Yeshiva College, where he was the writer-in-residence. He was honored with Brown’s Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003 and teaching awards from the graduating residents in psychiatry at Beth Israel Hospital in 2017 and Mount Sinai Hospital in 2018. He formerly held academic appointments at Pace University, Hunter College, William Paterson University, Manhattan College, Columbia University and New York University. Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown, an M.S. in bioethics from Albany Medical College, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia, an M.D. from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. from N.Y.U. and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He also publishes in the field of bioethics and contributes regularly to such publications as the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the Hastings Center Report and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.  His essays on the nexus of law and medicine have appeared in The New York TimesNew York PostNew York Daily NewsThe Chicago TribuneSan Francisco ChronicleDetroit Free PressOrlando SentinelThe Providence Journal and many regional newspapers.

Joseph Behen

Joseph Behen

Joseph Behen, Ph.D., is the Dean of the Wellness Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and has been on staff since 1994.  He was project director for SAIC CARES, a three year (2011-2014) suicide prevention effort at SAIC funded by a SAMHSA suicide prevention grant.  He was recipient of the 2015 Gallagher Koster Innovative Practices Award funded by the American College Health Foundation for the project College Health and Counseling Services as Essential Champions for Transgender Student Well-being.  He has guided SAIC's participation in several national, collaborative efforts addressing college student mental health, including the Bringing Theory to Practice Project, the National College Depression Partnership, the Healthy Minds Study, and a NIMH-funded study of Mental Health First Aid.  He received his MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology, with a subspecialty in Medical Psychology, from the University of Florida and a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan.  He completed his internship at the Northwestern University Medical School. His professional interests include the unique mental health needs of art students, the role mental illness plays in attrition from college, public health approaches to mental health on college campuses, mental health consultation, and crisis intervention.  

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown

Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown first recognized the importance of play by discovering its absence in the life stories of murders and felony drunken drivers. His years of clinical practice and review of over 6000 personal play histories affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle. His independent scholarship and exploration of the evolution and neuroscience of human and animal play have led to the establishment of the National Institute for Play. The Mission of the National Institute for Play (NIFP) is to bring the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life. Dr. Brown was the instigator and Executive Producer of the three-part PBS series, “The Promise of Play,” and coproduced the BBC-PBS series “Soul of the Universe.” His experience as a medical administrator, producer, and scientific consultant or creator to numerous other productions on Joseph Campbell, Cosmology, Animal Play, and Stress, plus his scientific and popular writings have identified him as the foremost “practical champion of the knowledge of play.” Dr. Brown’s book: Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul has been translated into twelve languages. He co-teaches From Play to Innovation at the Hasso Plattner School of Design at Stanford University, and is the “Key Strategist” for the Nevada Medical Center’s Global Play Science Institute. In addition to regular creative scholarly contributions for the PlayCore company, he enjoys other international corporate and academic consulting on play and its many contributions through their engagement with it, as it enhances overall human well-being. As the information base about play grows, it is evident that play is a public health necessity.

Our species, he says, “is built for play, and built by play.”

Nat Butler

Nat Butler

Nat Butler is retired after working for 12 years as a manager in the Social Service Department of Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, and subsequently for 23 years in the MassHealth (Medicaid) program for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as a manager of long term care services. Earlier in his work life, he was a mental health worker for one year at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. He has a masters degree in business administration and another masters degree in social work.

Nat Butler is a gay man. Until 1973, homosexuality was considered a psychiatric disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Nat is a recovering alcoholic (since 1998). Alcoholism is sometimes still considered to be a moral failing, rather than a treatable illness. Nat’s father was afflicted by alcoholism, and one of his brothers died of alcoholism. Another of Nat’s brothers – a diagnosed schizophrenic – was a successful, recovering alcoholic. Nat was treated for depression, with psychotherapy, over the course of 10 years.

“No matter what labels we may earn or be given in life, we are each a human being who enjoys being treated as an individual person rather than a diagnosis. Determining a diagnosis should never be a substitute for caring for the individual.”

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo 

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate. He is the author of Cenzontle, which was chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the 2017 A. Poulin, Jr. Prize published by BOA editions in 2018, as well as the winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writer Award for poetry, the 2019 Golden Poppy Award from the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, and the Bronze in the FOREWORD INDIE best book of the year. He was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated to the California central valley. As an AB540 student, he earned his B.A. from Sacramento State University and was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. He is a founding member of the Undocupoets campaign which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first poetry book prizes in the country and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers award. He has helped to establish The Undocupoet Fellowship which provides funding to help curb the cost of submissions to journals and contests for undocumented writers.

Gregory Dalack

Gregory Dalack

Gregory W. Dalack is the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry. He came to the University of Michigan in 1992 and served in a variety of leadership roles in the Mental Health Service at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System through 2005. From 2005-2016, he was Associate Chair for Education and Academic Affairs for the Department of Psychiatry, from 2006-2007, he was Vice Chair of the department, then served as Interim Chair until his appointment as Chair in 2010.  

Dr. Dalack has had research interests in the treatment of chronic and persistent mental illnesses, particularly focusing on schizophrenia. He has conducted studies examining nicotine addiction and smoking cessation interventions in schizophrenia, health behaviors in schizophrenia, and metabolic effects of second-generation antipsychotic medications in severe mental illness. Over the past five years, he has also become involved in developing collaborative care programs to provide psychiatric and behavioral health expertise within primary care clinics at UMHS and the community.

Dr. Dalack received his B.S. in Chemistry at Yale University, and received his medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. He completed his internship in Medicine at the Presbyterian Hospital in the City of New York and his Psychiatry Residency at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI). Also at Columbia and NYSPI, he completed a fellowship in Psychopharmacology.

Gillian Eaton

Gillian Eaton

Gillian Eaton, Creative Director of ‘Why I Fight,’ is an award-winning actress, director, and educator. A native of Wales, she has worked in London’s West End theatres and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and at the Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatres in Los Angeles, as well as many regional theatres. Along with numerous theatre awards for directing and acting, Eaton has been honored with the Michigan Artist prize from ArtServe Michigan and the Detroit Free Press Award for outstanding contribution to theatre in Michigan. She has created arts education outreach programs at the Detroit Historical Museum, the Roeper School, and University Musical Society. She was the McAndless Fellow at Eastern Michigan University and has directed and taught Shakespeare in performance at Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. In the fall of 2013, Eaton was nominated and selected to receive the Humanities Award from the Wayne County Council for Arts, History & Humanities.

Daniel Eisenberg

Daniel Eisenberg

Daniel Eisenberg is S.J. Axelrod Collegiate Professor of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, where he is also affiliated with the Population Studies Center and the Comprehensive Depression Center. His training is in economics (BA and PhD, Stanford University) and mental health services research (NIMH postdoc, UC Berkeley). His broad research goal is to improve understanding of how to invest effectively in the mental health of young people. He directs the Healthy Minds Network (HMN) for Research on Adolescent and Young Adult Mental Health (www.healthymindsnetwork.org). This research network administers the Healthy Minds Study, a national survey study of student mental health and related factors, and facilitates the development, testing, and dissemination of innovative programs and interventions for student mental health. He is currently writing a book about investments in children’s mental health, in collaboration with Ramesh Raghavan.

Peggy R. Ellsberg

Peggy R. Ellsberg

Peggy R. Ellsberg has taught in the English Department at Barnard College in Manhattan for 32 years. She has published two books on Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ: Created to Praise [Oxford University Press] and The Gospel in Gerard Manley Hopkins [Plough], and a collection of poetry, Riding Out. She has three children and lives in the scenic Hudson Valley with her standard poodle, Master Finley.

Alexander D. Fox

Alexander D. Fox

Alexander D. Fox is a healthcare administrator and retired classical musician. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Alex received his Bachelors of Music with Highest Honors in Viola Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) in 2015, where he was a four year merit scholarship recipient. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, Hill Auditorium, and concert halls throughout South Florida and the University of Michigan campus. In 2018, Alex left full time work to pursue a Masters of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, from which he will graduate in May 2020.

Judy Gardner

Judy Gardner

Judy Gardner grew up in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan – Dearborn with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, with a specialized certificate in Training Design and Development. After spending seven years working in the Washington D.C. area her passion for nonprofit work was ignited; which has led to her over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Previous to becoming the Executive Director of NAMI Washtenaw County, Judy served as Secretary on the board of Community Action Network working to build a community center and foster youth empowerment initiatives as a part of the Bryant Community Network outreach. Inspired by her own experience as a caregiver for a loved one with a serious mental health condition, she prides herself on championing inclusivity by building environments where differences are celebrated.

Under her tenure at NAMI Washtenaw County, Judy has continued her work on inclusivity by spearheading community initiatives that improve mental health care for those facing increased barriers to access. Most recently, her work with NAMI has contributed to a Congressional Commendation adopted by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell recognizing NAMI Washtenaw County’s continued dedication and championing of mental health causes.

Hank Greenspan

Hank Greenspan 

Henry (Hank) Greenspan is a psychologist, oral historian, and playwright recently retired after more than thirty years of teaching and counseling in the Residential College of the University of Michigan.  In 2012, he was a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the Centre for Concordia University in Montreal and frequently shares his work on Holocaust and genocide survivors around the world, most recently in Berlin, Jerusalem, London, New Delhi, Montreal, and throughout the U.S.  He is currently working closely with Sweden as that country plans its first Holocaust museum.

 

Greenspan’s play, REMNANTS, based on now forty years of work with Holocaust survivors, was originally produced at WUOM-FM for distribution on National Public Radio and has been presented as stage play at over 300 venues worldwide, including the John Houseman Theater in New York, the New British Library, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,  and the Magdeburg Attic Theatre in the former Theresienstadt camp. His most recent piece is “Death / Play or The Mad jester of the Warsaw Ghetto.” He is a professional member of the Dramatists Guild.

 

Laura Magnusson

Laura Magnusson

Laura Magnusson is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is currently based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, having recently completed her MFA at Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. Magnusson’s recent short film, Blue (2019), investigates video as a visual form of testimony to convey the fullness of traumatic experience. It is an official selection of the 58th Ann Arbor Film Festival, and will screen on Friday, March 27, 2020 as part of Films in Competition 7. In Canada, Magnusson has received funding from all levels of government, and has a permanent public sculpture on display at the University of Manitoba.

Khaled Mattawa

Khaled Mattawa

Khaled Mattawa is the author of four books of poetry, Tocqueville (New Issues Press, 2010), Amorisco (Ausable Press, 2008), Zodiac of Echoes (Ausable Press, 2003), and Ismailia Eclipse (Sheep Meadow Press, 1996). He is also the author of Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation, a critical study of the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, published by Syracuse University Press. He has translated nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry by Adonis, Saadi Youssef, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, Hatif Janabi, Maram Al-Massri, Joumana Haddad, Amjad Nasser, and Iman Mersal. Mattawa has co-edited two anthologies of Arab American literature. Mattawa has been awarded the Academy of American Poet’s Fellowship Prize, the PEN-American Center award for poetry translation, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Alfred Hodder fellowship from Princeton University, an NEA translation grant, and three Pushcart prizes. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Antioch Review, Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya and immigrated to the United States in his teens.  

Melvin G. McInnis

Melvin G. McInnis

Dr. McInnis, the Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression, is the Director of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program, leading a team of over 30 faculty and staff with several projects focused on bipolar disorder. These projects include collaborative programs using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to model bipolar disorder, the use of mobile technology to monitor and predict mood state changes in the illness, as well as assessments of cognitive capacity of individuals with bipolar disorder. He is active in community outreach and educational programs. Furthermore, he is the Associate Director for Research at the University of Michigan Depression Center. Dr. McInnis came to the University of Michigan in 2004 with the vision of changing the scientific landscape in bipolar disorder. He established a longitudinal study of bipolar disorder with a focus on detailed clinical and biological outcomes research in this devastating illness. He collaborates nationally and internationally in many programs of bipolar research. He has forged substantial collaborations with investigators across several schools of the University of Michigan, ranging from genetics, public health, and psychology, through complex modeling approaches that engage experts from mathematics and computer science.

Deb Mexicotte

Deb Mexicotte

Deb Mexicotte received her BFA and MA in Theatre from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Michigan, and worked in local and regional theatre as a designer and painter before joining the University of Michigan. She has spent her career working initially with students and student organizations engaged with the arts to help them achieve their highest developmental aspirations, and more recently with faculty and administrators to integrate the arts and design with science and engineering across the curricular and co-curricular spheres. Deb was named Student Organization Adviser of the Year in 1999 and has led research efforts on the impact of the arts on students at U-M. Prior to the last three years at ArtsEngine, she  spent eight years as the Program Director for Arts at Michigan, a co-curricular arts engagement program. Her experience in the community includes 13 years as a Trustee on the Ann Arbor Board of Education, chairing the Arts Alliance of Washtenaw County, and currently serving on the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission.

Stephanie Prechter

Stephanie Prechter

Stephanie Prechter earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University. Following graduation, she worked as a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Foreign Agricultural Service. Stephanie moved home to Michigan a few years later to work as a Research Associate with the Bipolar Research Team at the University of Michigan.Since then, she has been involved with suicide prevention outreach on both a local and state level. In addition to her work with her family’s foundation, she completed a photography degree at Washtenaw Community College. Her passion is to work as an artist with a focus on brain health and the arts.

William Royster

William Royster

Hailing from Kalamazoo Michigan, Will Royster is a dynamic poet, speaker, musician, and activist, dedicated to spreading his voice to create social change. Always steadfast in uplifting his community, Royster uses his artistic talents as an outlet to address mental health, therapy, and healing through creative expression.

During his time as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, Royster was championed for his leadership and activism. In 2015, Royster was recognized by the Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan newspaper, as the student of the year; awarded for having the greatest campus impact at the University of Michigan Forever Go Blue Awards; and was the recipient of the North Campus Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award. In addition, Royster had the distinction of delivering the commencement speech at the Fall 2016 University of Michigan Graduation and was selected to serve as one of the voices for the Winter 2017 University of Michigan Bicentennial Commencement Campaign. Royster’s leadership and accomplishments in spoken word, art, and activism have been featured among the New York Times, BET, Huffington Post, Relay for Life, Blavity, Button Poetry, and more.

Today, Royster has returned to the University of Michigan as a graduate student fellow at the School of Information. A full-time student, Royster spends much of his time in the classroom while working towards the release of his debut album “Fellow”, under the artistic name “Fellow the Prophet”. Expanding on his passion - the intersection of poetry, theater, and rap - Royster recently served as a graduate student instructor for the University of Michigan Resident College during the Fall 2019 academic semester, where he supported the design and execution of a curriculum based on "Contemporary Plays on Race in America".

Bharti Sattar

Bharti Sattar

Bharti Sattar serves as the Chief Financial Officer at Barnstorm VFX, a visual effects studio in Los Angeles, CA. Leveraging on over 20 years of experience in senior financial and management roles, Sattar focuses on companies in the middle market sector. In her role as a strategic and operational partner, Sattar works closely with the management team on corporate maturation initiatives. Using a hands-on approach, Sattar seeks to find innovative, out-of-the-box solutions to streamline business processes; identify cost optimization opportunities; develop key performance drivers and data analytics to support sustainable growth and increase shareholder. Sattar is vested in investigating immersion of neuro-atypical personalities in a corporate culture and dynamics of unpacking behavioral and professional identities in the organizational setting. Sattar is the recipient of 3 awards for CFO of the Year, with 5 nominations as the Finalist for the annual award.  A native of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, Sattar lives in Los Angeles with her wife, teenage twins, and their canine baby, Louie.

Dr. Emmanuel Schreiber

Dr. Emmanuel Schreiber

BA, Brandeis, 1959; PhD, U of Chicago, 1971; Psychoanalysis Certificate, NYC Postdoctoral Program, 1975.

I am 81 years old and have been in therapy for almost 60 of those years. “In therapy,” the way one might say “in finance” or “in civil engineering.” I have also been in therapy in the more common use of that phrase and my career in therapy has been critically therapeutic for me.

Staying with therapy as my line of work: I’ve worked with, roughly in this order: asthmatic children at Billings Hospital, family members at the Presidio military base, basic training drop-outs at Fort Dix, acute psychotic evacuees from the Vietnam war at a military hospital in Tokyo, and over the last 40+ years, a mixture of depressed, anxious, traumatized manic-depressed, etc. people of all ages, all suffering from the variety of symptom patterns common to the condition known as the human one. In the course of my work life as a clinician, I have also taught and supervised professionals who wanted to get more skilled in doing therapy with individuals and systems, in both one-to-one and group situations. Most recently this is out of my office in my converted sun porch, and before that, for example, as the Coordinator of the Adolescent Day Treatment Program at the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry from the late 1970’s into the mid-1980’s.

Shizue Seigel

Shizue Seigel

Shizue Seigel is a Japanese American writer and visual artist deeply influenced by her family’s World War II incarceration and post-war struggles in segregated Baltimore, Occupied Japan, farm labor camps and skid-row hotels. She dropped out of the model minority to find common cause with the marginalized. Her six books include the anthologies, “Civil Liberties United,” “Endangered Species, Enduring Values,” and “In Good Conscience: Supporting Japanese Americans During the Internment.” Her work has been funded by the San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Foundation, and California State Library’s Civil Liberties Public Education Program. Her prose and poetry have appeared in All the Women in My Family Sing, Your Golden Sun Still Shines, InvAsian, Cheers to Muses, Empty Shoes, Away JournalEleven ElevenPersimmon Tree, and elsewhere. She is the founder of Write Now! SF Bay, which support writers and artists of color in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.shizueseigel.com, www.WriteNowSF.com.

Andrew Shu

Andrew Shu

Andrew is a mental health services consumer and a Master of Social Work Student at the University of Michigan. Andrew’s passion for mental health first started in high school when he realized that he was not going to be the class valedictorian, so he tried to make his mark on the school in a different way. In the tumultuous time of the teenage years, Andrew served as the bedrock for his friends by becoming their de facto counselor and helping them through relationship issues, academic disappointments, and parental pressure. After transferring from community college to UC Berkeley, Andrew became lost and disillusioned about society due to his burgeoning drug use. This led to a full-on mental health crisis where he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. It took years for Andrew to reclaim his life and continue where he left off. Without the support of his family, friends, mental health community, and substance-free community, Andrew’s believes that his recovery would not have been possible. Andrew is thankful for everyone who helped him throughout his journey and he will continue to fight for a better tomorrow. 

Ellen Stone

Ellen Stone

Ellen Stone taught special education in the Ann Arbor Public Schools for over thirty years.  She primarily worked with adolescents coping with depression, anxiety and learning challenges at Community High School. Ellen is a graduate of Antioch College (B.A., Education and Psychology, 1981) and Kansas State University (M.S., Education, 1985). She founded a Poetry Club at Community High School and co-taught multiple English and writing classes over her career. Ellen currently advises Community High’s Poetry Club and cohosts a monthly poetry series, Skazat! in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her poems about growing up with and then caring for her mother who lives with bipolar disorder have been widely published in journals and magazines such as Bluestem, Dunes Review, Eastern Iowa Review, Sweet, The Museum of Americana, The Rupture, Two Cities Review, and Up North Lit. Ellen is the author of What Is in the Blood (Mayapple Press, 2020) and The Solid Living World which won the Michigan Writers Cooperative Chapbook Contest in 2013. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

Richard M. Tolman

Richard M. Tolman

Richard M. Tolman, LMSW, PhD, is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. He received his doctorate in social welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MSW from the University of Michigan. Professor Tolman's work focuses on the effectiveness of interventions designed to change violent and abusive behavior, and the impact of violence on the physical, psychological and economic well-being of victims. He began his work in this area as a practitioner working with men who batter in 1980. His current projects include research on the impact of and prevention of abuse during pregnancy and involvement of men and boys as allies to end men's violence against women. He is currently co-Director of the Global Research Program on Mobilizing Men for Violence Prevention, a collaborative project between the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota. Professor Tolman co-teaches a course at U-M focusing on community empowerment through creative expression. He is engaged in several projects, overlapping dimensions of research, teaching and service, that focus on the use of creative arts in social work efforts.