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Program Staff: Mental Health Program

Mental Health Program Staff

Eve H. Byrd, D.N.P., M.P.H.

Eve Byrd became director of the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program in February 2017. Prior to joining The Carter Center, she was a faculty member of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University and served as executive director of the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression, Department of Psychiatry at the Emory School of Medicine. 

She has held leadership positions both nationally and locally in work aimed at eliminating stigma and improving access to care for people with behavioral health disorders. She supported the Special Advisor to the Governor on Mental Health, engaging stakeholders in the process that resulted in a settlement agreement between Georgia and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Read full bio. 

Lei Ellingson, M.P.P., M.S.S.E. 
Senior Associate Director

Lei Ellingson participates in developing, planning, and implementing Mental Health Program activities, including the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, the Liberia Mental Health Initiative, and the Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum. She also serves as the liaison between the Mental Health Program and state organizations. Previously, Ellingson worked in the field of special education. She received a master of public policy degree from Duke University, a master of science in special education from Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor of arts from Mount Holyoke College. 

Rebecca Palpant Shimkets, M.S.
Associate Director, The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

Rebecca Palpant Shimkets is associate director for the Carter Center’s Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. Palpant develops and oversees a journalism fellowship program that each year awards stipends to 10 professional journalists in the United States and other countries to produce a significant work on mental health or mental illnesses. Palpant is an active participant on advisory boards and within national work groups related to stigma and accurate portrayals of mental illnesses in the media. She received a master's degree in community counseling from Georgia State University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Asbury College.

John Bartlett, M.D., M.P.H. 
Senior Project Advisor, Primary Care Initiative

Dr. John Bartlett leads and coordinates the activities of the Mental Health Program's Primary Care Initiative, which is intended to help identify ways to facilitate better recognition and treatment of mental health and substance abuse problems in primary care. Bartlett is a psychiatrist and a former treatment system manager who specializes in quality and accountability issues for mental health, substance abuse, and chronic health care. Prior to working at The Carter Center, he was a partner at The Avisa Group, a policy, research, and consulting firm that specializes in behavioral health care. Bartlett also has served as the senior medical director and vice president for CIGNA Behavioral Health and as an executive vice president for clinical strategy for Charter/Magellan Health Services. He received his medical training at Yale University and completed his psychiatric residency at the UCLA School of Medicine, where, following his residency, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar.

Janice Cooper, Ph.D., M.P.A. 
Country Representative, Mental Health Program Liberia

Janice L. Cooper is the country lead for the Liberia Mental Health Initiative. She oversees a national training, policy, and support program to expand capacity for mental health services delivery. She also is responsible for interacting with national and international colleagues and partners of the program. A native Liberian and health services researcher specializing in children's mental health, Cooper has worked in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors in the United States and Liberia. Prior to joining The Carter Center in 2010, Cooper was the interim director of the National Center for Children in Poverty as well as an assistant clinical professor in health policy and management at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. From 2005 through 2009, she served as the National Center's director of child health and mental health, receiving the distinguished Calderone Prize for Junior Faculty in 2007. Cooper earned a doctorate in health policy from Harvard University. She was a 2001 fellow in medical ethics at Harvard Medical School and a 1999 Archibald Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow. She holds additional undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Essex in Colchester, England, and Columbia and Harvard universities in the United States. 

Charles Hancock, M.P.H.
Associate Director, Mental Health Program Liberia

Charles Hancock manages the planning, development, and operations for Mental Health Program activities in Liberia and oversees programmatic expansion opportunities in other countries. He represents the program in various national and international forums and serves as liaison between the Liberia field office and headquarters in Atlanta. Prior to joining The Carter Center, Hancock worked in the humanitarian and development sectors in Afghanistan, Jordan, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan. He served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. Hancock received a master of public health degree from the University of Edinburgh and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Alabama.

Sarah Yoss, M.P.H.
Senior Program Associate, Mental Health Program Liberia

Sarah Yoss designs and implements project components, manages budgets and grant reporting, and provides support for the Liberia field offices in work plan development, monitoring and evaluation, and procurement and logistics. Prior to joining the Carter Center, Yoss worked as a program manager at Mental Health America of Georgia, as a health educator in New York City, and with the U.S. Peace Corps in Peru. She earned a master of public health degree from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in community health and anthropology from Tufts University.

Stephanie Uribe, M.S. 
Program Associate

Stephanie Uribe is responsible for researching, designing, implementing, and coordinating Mental Health Program activities, including the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and the Carter Center's stigma reduction activities. Prior to joining The Carter Center, Uribe worked as an undergraduate admission advisor for multicultural recruitment at Emory University. She holds a master of science degrees in international relations from the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain, and in human development counseling from Vanderbilt University, where she also earned a bachelor of science degree in human and organizational development.

Susan Hunsinger
Program Assistant

Susan Pearson Hunsinger is responsible for departmental communications, financial processing, and logistical support for the Mental Health Program. Prior to joining the department, she worked in Art Services at the Carter Center, owned a small business, and worked as a freelance writer and editor. Hunsinger earned a bachelor of arts degree with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Anna Oltmann
Program Assistant 

Anna Oltmann provides administrative and programmatic support for the Mental Health Program’s Liberia Initiative. Prior to joining The Carter Center, Oltmann worked in South Africa as a business development fellow for a global maternal health organization. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Georgia State University.

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