Behavioral Health Meetings
Principal Members Biographies
Florida Department of Children and Families
Shevaun Harris joined the Department of Children and Families as the Secretary in February 2021 after a nearly two-decade career at the Agency for Health Care Administration.
Prior to joining DCF, Mrs. Harris was responsible for administering the Florida Medicaid program and regulates over 40,000 health care facilities in the state. Mrs. Harris held positions in the health and human services field providing services to children and adults diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and children receiving services in an inpatient psychiatric program. During her tenure at the AHCA, Mrs. Harris led the development and maintenance of all policies for Medicaid services, including those focused on children with special health care needs, Medicaid eligibility, long-term care, and behavioral health. She has overseen implementation of the agency's quality improvement initiatives with particular focus on perinatal and behavioral health outcomes.
Mrs. Harris is an innovator - most recently, spearheading the development of the State's Canadian Prescription Drug Importation program. She has led several major implementations and served as the lead negotiator for multi-billion-dollar contracts under the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program. This includes contracts with specialty plans that serve the child welfare population and individuals with serious mental illness. During her time as Acting Secretary, Mrs. Harris lead the Agency's COVID-19 efforts in partnership with other state agencies and essential health care providers.
She received her bachelor's degree in psychology, a master's degree in social work from the Florida State University and a master's degree in business administration from Quinnipiac University.
Florida Department of Elder Affairs
Michelle L. Branham is Secretary of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Prior to her appointment, she served as Vice President of Public Policy for the Florida Alzheimer’s Association for nearly a decade. Branham has more than 28 years of experience in public policy, public health, and public relations and more than a decade of senior executive experience in federal and state level public policy initiatives including advanced healthcare and Florida senior initiatives. She has served as Chair of the State of Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee and was an Advisory Member for the State Plan on Aging Task Force. Branham graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Political Sciences from Stetson University and a Master of Theological Studies from Emory University with a concentration in Human Relations, Theological Studies, and Philosophical Studies.
Dr. Eric Hall
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
Dr. Eric Hall has more than two decades of experience serving in executive leadership, with significant expertise in the fields of education, youth development, and juvenile justice. Most recently in November 2021, he was appointed Secretary for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice by Governor Ron DeSantis.
In March 2019, he returned home to Florida and became the state’s first Senior Chancellor at the Florida Department of Education (FDOE). In his role at FDOE, he served as a chief advisor to the Commissioner of Education and was instrumental in developing and implementing the state’s top education priorities. He led the Department’s efforts on Governor Ron DeSantis’ education-related executive orders, which are centered around having the best instructional standards, the safest schools and #1 workforce education in the nation. FDOE put forth an aggressive agenda to ensure that all Floridians have access to the world-class education they deserve, and Eric made substantial contributions to transform these student-focused goals into reality.
Prior to his work at FDOE, he led renowned education initiatives in a number of positions in North Carolina, including as Deputy State Superintendent, where he oversaw multiple divisions and initiatives within the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Eric was also the state’s founding Superintendent of North Carolina’s Innovative School District and, before that, the President and CEO of Communities In Schools of North Carolina (CISNC). In all of these positions, he built strong partnerships with state and local education leaders, as well as the business community, to support and sustain services aimed at improving educational opportunities for students across the state.
Preceding his move to North Carolina, Eric served as the National Director of Educational Services for AMIkids, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing intervention services to youth in juvenile justice programs and non-traditional schools across nine states.
Eric’s additional career experience includes successful board and community development; strategic planning; education innovation; educator and school leader development; and significant experience building and fostering partnerships across agencies and organizations to support common missions and visions. He began his career as a teacher, then later transitioned into school leadership, and soon after was promoted to lead the implementation of education and juvenile justice reforms in Florida and other states across the nation.
Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Science Education, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of South Florida. He is the son of two public school teachers, and his wife is a school social worker. Eric, his wife, and their two children live in Tallahassee.
Erica Floyd Thomas
Assistant Secretary of Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Florida Department of Children and Families
Erica Floyd Thomas joined the Department of Children and Families in April 2021 after 20 years of serving the State of Florida at the Agency for Health Care Administration in various leadership roles. As the Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Mrs. Thomas is responsible for ensuring that individuals with substance use disorders and/or behavioral health needs can access services needed.
In her previous roles, Mrs. Thomas directed the implementation of the Medicaid Housing Assistance Pilot program. This program was established to provide evidence-based community supports and services for Medicaid-eligible individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have serious mental illnesses or a substance use disorder. Additionally, she aided in the implementation of a multidisciplinary team approach for applied behavioral analysis services for children to ensure access to care and managed the deployment of open access for medication assisted treatment to sustain recovery and aid in the prevention of overdoses. During her tenure with the Agency for Health Care Administration, she and her team promoted and optimized the use of telemedicine in various health care settings, including those with a primary behavioral health focus.
Mrs. Thomas holds two degrees from Florida State University; a Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Science and Master of Social Work.
Deputy Secretary of Medicaid/Florida State Medicaid Director
Agency for Health Care Administration
Tom Wallace was appointed in 2021 to serve as Deputy Secretary of Medicaid/State Medicaid Director for Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration. He has over 21 years of State of Florida financial experience including twelve years of direct Medicaid budget and institutional cost-based reimbursement strategies for Florida Medicaid providers. As State Medicaid Director, Tom is responsible for all aspects of the Florida Medicaid program which provides health and long-term care services for low-income Floridians.
Most recently, Tom served as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Medicaid Finance and Analytics and was directly responsible for overseeing all financial functions of Florida's $34.5B Medicaid Budget, including the capitation rate process for the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program and institutional reimbursements for Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Intermediate Care Facilities, County Health Departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Additionally, Tom has served as the primary architect for Florida's Low-Income Pool, Direct Payment, and Indirect Medical Education programs.
Florida Department of Education
Mr. Oliva began his career as a special education teacher and, over the last 20 years, has served in a variety of positions, including principal and superintendent. Currently, as the Senior Chancellor, he supports the teaching and learning of Florida's over 2.9 million students in approximately 3,600 public schools, promoting student achievement and closing the achievement gaps. Additionally, Senior Chancellor Oliva provides statewide leadership and communication between the Florida Department of Education and Florida's school districts.
Dr. Joseph Ladapo
Department of Health
Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, is the State Surgeon General of Florida. He also serves as Professor of Medicine at the University of Florida, where his research examines behavioral economic strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk in low-income and disadvantaged populations. Clinically, he has cared primarily for hospitalized patients. His research program has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and includes clinical trials of interventions for weight loss, smoking cessation, and cardiovascular disease prevention among people with HIV. Dr. Ladapo’s studies have been published in leading medical journals, including The Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and Annals of Internal Medicine. His writings about health policy and public health have appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Prior to joining the faculty of University of Florida, he was a tenured Associate Professor at David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Ladapo graduated from Wake Forest University and received his medical degree from Harvard and PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he received the Harvard Medical School Class of 2012 Resident Teaching Award and the Daniel E. Ford Award in Health Services and Outcomes Research from John Hopkins University.
Agency for Persons with Disabilities
Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Barbara Palmer would continue to serve as the Director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) in December 2018. She was appointed Director of APD by Governor Rick Scott in August 2012. Previously, she had served as the agency's chief of staff since September 2011.
Before coming to APD, Palmer was the assistant secretary for administration of the Department of Children and Families. Palmer served more than 15 years as president and CEO of Palmer, Musick & Associates, where she represented the interests of a variety of issues including athletics, education, mental health, health care, and regulation before state and local governments. She previously served as associate vice-president for governmental relations at Florida State University and was FSU's first women's athletic director. She also served as director of the Division of Hotels and Restaurants in the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Palmer earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State University. She was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990 and also was among the first group of women inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame in 1982.
Chief Executive Officer
Florida Healthy Kids Corporation
Ryan West currently leads the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation as Chief Executive Officer, where he provides strategic leadership and direction toward meeting the Corporation's mission to ensure the availability of affordable, child-centered health and dental insurance to Florida's children. Prior to joining Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, Ryan served as Chief of Staff to the state's Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. There he honed his expertise in insurance, budgetary and legislative policy, advising one of Florida's four top executive branch officials on critical public relations, insurance policy and administrative matters. Earlier work at the Public Service Commission as Chief Advisor to three Commissioners instilled a passion for public policy, helping shape the state's approach to pressing water, telecommunications and renewable energy resource issues. Nearly ten years of direct legislative work with the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Chamber of Commerce provided a depth of knowledge on the state's lawmaking and budgetary practices.
Ryan lives in Tallahassee with his wife Kim and son Parker. In his downtime, you will often find Ryan on the baseball field with his family.
Chief Executive Officer
Broward Behavioral Health Coalition
Silvia Quintana is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Addictions Professional. She is presently the Chief Executive Officer, Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, Inc. overseeing the development implementation and management of the substance abuse and mental health system of care for Broward County's state's contracts. Ms. Quintana was the Principal Investigator for Broward County's One Community Partnership 2 Expansion Planning and Implementation Grants. Presently overseeing One Community Partnership 3 Expansion Grant and the Regional Partnership Grant, Family CPR. Previously, she was the Southern Region Substance Abuse and Mental Health Regional Director at the Florida Department of Children and Families in Miami Dade and Monroe Counties, overseeing the development implementation and management of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. She served as the Principal Investigator for the FACES System of Care SAMHSA grant in Miami, Florida. She has been an adjunct faculty at the University of Miami, School of Continuing Studies. Previously, she directed various substance abuse and co-occurring treatment programs in Miami-Dade County. From NAEMI's inception in 1988, she has volunteered her time to assist National Art Exhibitions in its mission of supporting and promoting the art of artists recovering from mental illnesses.
Dr. Christine Cauffield
Chief Executive Officer
LSF Health Systems
Dr. Christine Cauffield has served as President and CEO of organizations providing integrated health services for children through seniors, including a corporation that provides in-patient, acute psychiatric care to seniors in crisis. She received her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology and completed her Internship and Post-Doctoral Residency at Harvard Medical School, where she specialized in geriatric neuropsychology. She currently serves as the President of the Florida Council on Aging, President of the Florida Association of Managing Entities, and is a member of the Executive Board of the Smart Justice Alliance of Florida. Dr. Cauffield also serves on the Florida Department of Elder Affairs State Plan Advisory Group. She is a Leadership Florida alumna and represents the United States for EuComs, an organization compromised of 36 European countries that are dedicated to advancing community based behavioral healthcare in Europe.
Dr. Cauffield’s proven track record of management success has resulted in several company turn-arounds. Additionally, her vision and strategic planning allow organizational growth and expansion, with innovative clinical programs. She has developed national Best-Practice models that include in-home care, out-patient, inpatient and acute care hospital-based units. Dr. Cauffield has successfully integrated healthcare services that encompass both urban and rural community settings. She is a passionate healthcare advocate and is adept at working with local, state and national governmental officials to champion policy and funding initiatives. Dr. Cauffield incorporates philanthropic fund-raising and effectively engages the communities she serves. She has successfully worked with local, state and national policy makers on critical healthcare initiatives.
Chief Executive Officer and President
Florida Association of Health Plans
Audrey Brown is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Association Health Plans (FAHP), where she leads the statewide trade association representing commercial, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage health insurers and managed care organizations. FAHP advocates for public policy focused on enhancing access to high quality, affordable health care through a competitive marketplace. Through her role at FAHP, Audrey was appointed to the Health Care Transition Team by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2019. Audrey has held leadership positions in both the private and public sectors and has nearly two decades of insurance Legislative and Regulatory experience.
Prior to joining FAHP, Audrey served as Chief of Staff to Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, where she was Chief Policy Advisor to the Commissioner, Chief Lobbyist on agency fiscal matters, and managed the operations of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Her role as Chief of Staff also included oversight of Communications, Legislative Affairs, Information Technology, as well as Human Resources. Additionally, Audrey served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Commissioner and as Director of Government Relations, leading both Legislative and Cabinet affairs.
Audrey was the Manager of Contract Compliance and Administration for AvMed Health Plans, Florida’s oldest not for profit health maintenance organization. During her tenure at AvMed, she was granted special dispensation to lead Fortify Florida, a property and casualty insurance initiative, at the request of Governor Jeb Bush. Audrey began her professional career in 2000, serving in the Executive Office of Governor Jeb Bush, where she worked in Scheduling and Gubernatorial Appointments to Boards and Commissions.
Audrey earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from the Florida State University, with specialization in Policy and Political Communication.
Chief Executive Officer
Florida Behavioral Health Association
Brown-Woofter, of Crawfordville, is the President and CEO of Florida Behavioral Health Association (FBHA), the state's largest trade association representing community behavioral health providers with a united voice. She is a former program administrator for the Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA). She earned her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Florida.
Vice President, Government Contracts
Chief Executive Officer and President
Lakeview Center Baptist Health Care
Allison Hill is the chief executive officer for Lakeview Center, Inc. (LCI) and works from the main campus located in downtown Pensacola, Florida.
Allison is responsible for the daily functions of a $265 million, 2,800-employee social service organization that impacts lives in multiple states and the District of Columbia. The behavioral health division has an annual operating budget of $72mill and operates in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Walton counties. Services across the full continuum of care for mental illness and substance use disorders are provided. Last year, 25,000 individuals received care from Lakeview Center Behavioral Health.
Prior to joining Lakeview, Allison worked for the regional public accounting firm Saltmarsh, Cleveland and Gund. She joined the team at Lakeview Center in January 1999 and became a vice president of the organization in February 2003 when she was appointed as its chief financial officer. In August 2014, she was promoted to chief operating officer, and in 2016 became the third chief executive officer in Lakeview’s history.
Allison graduated from the University of West Florida (UWF) magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting in 1992. She also holds a Master of Accountancy degree from UWF and was licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Chief Executive Officer and President
Citrus Health Network, Inc.
Mario Jardon, LCSW is the founding President and CEO of Citrus Health Network, Inc., a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) based in Hialeah, Florida. Citrus Health Network was founded in 1979 as a community mental health center dedicated to serving mentally ill individuals and their families. In 2004, Citrus Health Network received a Section 330(e) grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and began offering primary care in addition to mental and behavioral health services; taking an integrated approach to care. Today, Citrus Health Network serves more than 30,000 patients annually across behavioral health, primary care, and community-based supportive services. Beginning July 2019, Citrus assumed the role of Community-Based Care Lead Agency for Child Welfare for Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties as a contractor for the Department of Children and Families. Citrus’ CBC division is known as Citrus Family Care Network.
Mr. Jardon began his career in New York and New Jersey. After earning his Masters in Social Work from Fordham University, Mr. Jardon moved through direct service positions and in 1977, became Center Director at the Mount Carmel Guild Community Mental Health Center in Newark, New Jersey.
In 1979, Mr. Jardon relocated to South Florida to lead a newly-formed Community Mental Health Center in Hialeah, Florida, now known as Citrus Health Network. In the past 35 years, Mr. Jardon, with the support of the Citrus Health Network Board of Directors and staff, has been able to achieve continued growth for the Center.
Mr. Jardon has a history of involvement with organizations that help communities and individuals in need. He has served as Chairman of the Health Council of South Florida, and as Co-Chairman of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Miami-Dade County’s Jail Diversion Task Force. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health and more recently, on the Board of South Florida Behavioral Health Network (SFBHN).
Mr. Jardon is a member of the Florida State University College of Social Work Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families and Children. He also serves on the Nursing Advisory Council for the Florida International University College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS). The Advisory Council serves as a link between the CNHS and the community.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Health Choice Network (HCN), an administrative services organization located in Miami, Florida that serves FQHCs in 11 states, including more than 24 FQHCs in Florida. Mr. Jardon is the Chairman of the HCN Managed Care Committee.
In 2009 the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) approved the creation of Prestige Health Choice, a Provider Services Network (PSN) owned by FQHCs and affiliated with HCN. Mr. Jardon was elected by his peers to serve on the Prestige Health Choice Audit Committee, and subsequently on the plan’s Board of Governors. Mr. Jardon also served on the Board of Managers of Prestige’s Community Care of Florida.
Director of Clinical Operations
Tracey serves as the Director of Operations for BayCare Behavioral Health. She oversees the clinical operations of mental health and substance use services for adults and children within the five county BayCare continuum of care. Tracey oversees services within traditional outpatient settings, including primary and pediatric care offices. She also oversees intervention, prevention, case management, community health, and outreach services for families. Tracey has been in a senior leadership role with BayCare for nearly 20 years, working in the areas of clinical program development, implementation of specialized initiatives, writing of grants and research projects, community development and clinical supervision model development and implementation. She has presented at numerous local, state, and national behavioral health conferences. She has been a Project Evaluator for Safe and Drug Free Schools Grants, a Project Director for both the Department of Education and SAMHSA Grants, a Data Analyst for SAMHSA Grant and a Project Manager for the Prevention and Partnership Grant Program of Florida.
Tracey is a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Qualified Licensure Supervisor. She serves on several local boards including the Alliance for Substance Addiction Prevention (past Chairperson), Central Florida Behavioral Health Network Board of Directors, Suncoast YMCA, and Pasco County Public Safety Council. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Florida. She currently resides in Pinellas County and is the proud parent of Brenna, 15, Luke, 14, and Jackson 12.
Chief Executive Officer and President
Florida Coalition for Children
Kurt Kelly is the CEO and President of the Florida Coalition for Children, a statewide advocacy organization representing over 80 child welfare agencies. Kelly is also a small business owner for over 20 years and is a Business and political consultant. From 2007-2010, Kelly served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives. He is recognized as a subject matter expert on Florida's unique community-based care model. He holds a Masters in Adult Education and Administration for the University of South Florida and a BS In Political Science from Florida State University. Also Post Graduate Work in Theology from Southeastern Theological Seminary.
Chief Executive Officer
Florida Association of Managing Entities
Natalie Kelly is the CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities (FAME), a statewide organization representing Florida’s seven behavioral health managing entities that manage, administer and make accountable almost $800 million of state, federal, and local funds to a network of more than 300 behavioral health providers around the state. The mission of FAME is to advance the recovery of individuals and their families so individuals can live healthy lives to their fullest potential.
Ms. Kelly is a skilled and successful entrepreneur, leader, and executive with 35 years of experience with state and federal government. She worked for both houses of the Florida Legislature, including 10 years in the Florida Senate as a Staff Director, Communications Director, and liaison to the Senate President. She was the Communications Director for one of the largest departments in Florida, The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and was the international spokesperson during state emergencies. She was the State Director for a national Alzheimer’s organization, where she was promoted to Washington DC as the Director of Systems Change.
Prior to leading FAME, Natalie had a successful consulting firm representing local governments, a senior-residential national corporation, and aging, behavioral health and child welfare providers.
Natalie has received national and state recognition for her advocacy work. She was the finalist for the National Maureen Reagan Advocacy Award and was appointed by the House Speaker to the Purple Ribbon Task Force that developed Florida’s first Alzheimer’s State Plan.
Recognized as an accomplished public speaker and communicator, Natalie has presented around the nation and written numerous articles on effective advocacy, Alzheimer’s/dementia, aging, emergency management, behavioral health, and Florida’s behavioral health safety-net model.
Natalie earned a Master’s degrees from The Florida State University. In her spare time, Natalie is a world traveler, traveling to 86 countries and all seven continents.
Chief Executive Officer and President
Jay Reeve, PhD, has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Apalachee Center, in Tallahassee, Florida, since 2008. Apalachee Center is a not-for-profit behavioral health center operating 12 outpatient clinics, three acute behavioral healthcare inpatient units, two primary care clinics, and six residential programs across the eight counties of Florida’s Big Bend region, and manages the Behavioral Health Center at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. This regional network employs over 700 staff and treats about 12000 unduplicated clients annually. Dr. Reeve also chairs the Mental Health Council of the Big Bend and the Behavioral Health Council of the Florida Hospital Association. He was recently appointed by the Governor as a Member of the State of Florida’s Mental Health and Substance use Commission. Dr. Reeve received undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees from Tufts, Harvard, and Adelphi Universities. He has been licensed as a clinical psychologist in Delaware, Florida, New York, and Rhode Island. Dr. Reeve has held a variety of academic appointments, including teaching faculty positions at Brown University Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior; the University of Albany; Albany Medical College; Widener University; Immaculata College; the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology; the University of Hartford, and currently holds a courtesy appointment at the at Florida State University Medical College. He has published psychology research papers, especially on the treatment of children, in national peer-reviewed journals.
In 2014, Dr. Reeve was made a Fellow of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, “in recognition of his unique and significant contributions to the Council”. In 2010, Dr. Reeve was awarded the Visionary Leadership award by the National Council for Community Behavioral Health. He was the first Florida mental health provider to win the Big Bend Mental Health Coalition’s Walk The Walk award, in 2008. In 2005, he was the first non-physician to receive the Brown Medical School’s Outstanding Teaching Award in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.