Fall Institute Speakers

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy is a professor of family therapy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is also director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York, New York. Prior to joining the faculty at Drexel University, he was a Professor of Family Therapy at Syracuse University where he also held positions as director of clinical training and research, and chair of the Department of Child and Family Services. He is the former director of the Center for Children, Families, and Trauma of the Ackerman Institute in New York City.

Click HERE for full bio.

Keynote Address: Will Lightbourne, Sandra Hernández, John Connolly

Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Plenary Panel The Current and Future State of Behavioral Healthcare for Children, Youth and Families 

Will Lightbourne was appointed director of the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) by Gov. Gavin Newsom effective June 16, 2020. Before his appointment to DHCS, Mr. Lightbourne served on Gov. Newsom’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, and previously as director of the California Department of Social Services from 2011 through​2018​. Before his state service, he was director of the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency, director of the Human Services Agency of the City & County of San Francisco, director of the Santa Cruz County Human Services Agency, and general director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. 

Sandra R. Hernández, MD, is president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation. Prior to joining CHCF, Sandra was CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, which she led for 16 years. She previously served as director of public health for the City and County of San Francisco. She also co-chaired San Francisco’s Universal Healthcare Council, which designed Healthy San Francisco. It was the first time a local government in the US attempted to provide health care for all of its constituents. In February 2018, Sandra was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Covered California board of directors. In December 2019, she was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the Healthy California for All Commission. She also serves on the UC Regents Health Services Committee and the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Health Advisory Board. Sandra practiced at San Francisco General Hospital in the HIV/AIDS Clinic from 1984 to 2016 and was an assistant clinical professor at the UCSF School of Medicine. 

Kim Johnson was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom as the director of the California Department of Social Services in July of 2019. Johnson had previously been appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to serve as the deputy director of the Family Engagement and Empowerment Division and was responsible for the planning, policy direction and oversight of services to over 4 million individuals, children, families and living in poverty through safety net resources, employment opportunities, and additional engagement strategies. Johnson has over 20 years of experience working in various family support and children’s programs focused on social justice, equity, and poverty disruption in both community-based organizations and government. 


Michelle Baass was reappointed as undersecretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency in March 2019, where she has served as undersecretary since 2018 and was deputy secretary of the Office of Program and Fiscal Affairs from 2017 to 2018. Previously, she was health consultant for the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee for five years. Before joining this committee, she worked for the California Senate Office of Research and the Legislative Analyst’s Office covering health and environmental health issues. Prior to her career with the California Legislature, she worked for Accenture as an information systems consultant and manager in the government practice.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Dr. Isaiah Pickens

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.– 10:00 a.m.

Caring During Crisis

Dr. Isaiah Pickens is a licensed clinical psychologist and writer who believes the best version of each of us lies in our pursuit of healthiness, not happiness. Using science and entertainment, Dr. Isaiah helps people build lives full of meaning and promote their healthiest selves. The difference between pursuing health versus happiness is understanding that there is beauty and potential growth in both the triumphs and failures of life. Regardless of the situation, the important question always is “How can I get better?” Dr. Isaiah shares innovative tools to help you become a better and healthier version of yourself.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Tony Thurmond was sworn in as the 28th California State Superintendent of Public Instruction on Jan. 7, 2019. Thurmond is an educator, social worker, and public school parent, who has served the people of California for more than ten years in elected office. Previously, he  served on the Richmond City Council, West Contra Costa Unified School Board, and in the California State Assembly, representing District 15.

Click HERE for full bio. 

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH, FAAP, is an award-winning physician, researcher and advocate dedicated to changing the way our society responds to one of the most serious, expensive and widespread public health crises of our time: childhood trauma.  She was appointed as California’s first-ever Surgeon General by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January 2019.  

 Click HERE for full bio.