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Program Staff: Mental Health Program

Mental Health Program Staff

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

Eve Byrd (she/her) 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.

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Diana Felner
Senior Policy Director

Diana Felner is the senior director of caregiver and mental health policy for the Carter Center Mental Health Program and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers. She develops and implements the federal policy agenda and provides a consistent presence in Washington, D.C., for both organizations. Felner brings over 25 years’ experience in government and regulatory affairs. She most recently served as vice president of public policy at the Tourette Association of America, leading federal mental health, health care, neuroscience, and education policy. Felner has been elected by peers to several leadership positions and boards, including the American Brain Coalition and the Mental Health Liaison Group. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Christian University.

Samhita Kumar, M.P.H.
Associate Director, Global Mental Health Programs and Liberia

Samhita Kumar is a mental health and development specialist who joined the Mental Health Program in June 2019. Previously, she was with the World Bank Group, where she designed and implemented programs to help address the psychosocial well-being of vulnerable groups and enhance human capital in low- and middle-income countries and fragile and conflict-affected situations. Kumar also supported World Bank efforts to address fragility, conflict, and violence. Prior to joining the World Bank, Kumar conducted research on severe mental disorders among youth and early learning and memory in childhood, working with leading academic and policy institutions. She holds a master’s degree in public health in epidemiology and global health from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in neuroscience from Emory University.

Aparna Kumar, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.S.N., PMHNP-BC
Nurse Educator

Aparna Kumar works in the Mental Health Program in a joint faculty position with Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, focused on enhancing global mental health nursing and workforce development. As an associate clinical professor and nurse educator, Kumar provides nurse education expertise to the Carter Center’s behavioral health workforce development activities in low- and middle-income countries. She formerly was director of Thomas Jefferson University's psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program. She has also served as a psychiatric nurse practitioner across multiple settings, as an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and as a researcher and educator in Malawi and Mozambique. Kumar holds Ph.D., M.S.N., and B.S.N. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and an M.P.H. from the University of Malawi College of Medicine.

Nora Fleming
Associate Director

Nora Fleming launched and manages the Mental Health Parity Collaborative, a project started in 2021 with newsrooms around the U.S. to expand coverage of mental health care access and inequity. Before joining The Carter Center, Fleming was the senior editor at Edutopia, where she spearheaded a new line of journalistic content for the website, launched a fellowship program for budding reporters, and edited and wrote articles. Earlier, she was the editorial director at Fenton, where she served as the dedicated editor and writer across four offices, managing content projects for leading foundations, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations. Fleming also has worked as a reporter at national and regional news outlets. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and American studies from Emory University and a master's degree in media and public affairs from George Washington University.

S. Benedict Dossen, M.Sc G.M.H., B.S.W.
Country Program Lead
Mental Health Program – Liberia

S. Benedict Dossen oversees all Carter Center behavioral health initiatives in Liberia. He engages in policy-setting, program-related global initiatives, and information sessions. Dossen represents the program at the national and international levels and makes public speaking appearances on the Center’s behalf. He works closely with Liberian government agencies, universities and other stakeholders in planning and implementing projects related to the national mental health agenda, while at the same time sustaining and strengthening the Carter Center’s initiatives. Dossen previously was director of gender and social inclusion with the Millennium Challenge Account Liberia. He developed the concept for and served as the interim executive director of the country’s national mental health center of excellence, called the Liberia Center for Outcomes Research in Mental Health. He holds a Master of Science in Global Mental Health from King’s College London and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Stella Maris Polytechnic in Monrovia, Liberia. He serves on two of Liberia’s leading research ethics bodies and is a research ethics fellow with New York University and Western Institutional Review Board’s ethics program.

Karen Ladley, Ph.D.
Associate Director

Karen Ladley oversees the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and the Carter Center-led Mental Health Parity Collaborative. Ladley worked as a broadcast journalist for more than a decade in North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania before working for several community colleges, DeSales University, and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Ladley received a doctorate in transformative education from Kutztown University in 2022. She earned her master of education from UNC Wilmington and her bachelor’s in mass communication from Elizabethtown College.

Ryan Greenstein, M.P.A.
Associate Director, Public Policy

Ryan Greenstein joined The Carter Center in 2023. Previously, he was with the Overdose Prevention Initiative in Washington, D.C., where he worked with Congress and the presidential administration to support policies that would reduce overdose rates nationwide. Prior to that role, he served as the legislative director for the National Association of Attorneys General. During his time in Washington, Greenstein was recognized for his advocacy as a Bryce Harlow Foundation Fellow, on The Hill’s Top Lobbyist List, and as a regularly featured speaker on drug policy and advocacy at major conferences. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s in history from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Ryan Fowler, M.A.
Senior Program Associate, Global Behavorial Health

Ryan Fowler provides programmatic support to the global behavioral health team’s expansion work, cross-programmatic efforts, and Liberia programs. Previously, he worked as a mental health counselor in private practice. His international experience includes leading a disaster recovery program with Mennonite Central Committee in Nepal. He also has experience in Cambodia, supporting local organizations in project planning, monitoring and evaluation. Fowler developed the United Way of Greater Atlanta's anti-human trafficking work and innovation initiatives and was a project officer with MAP International. He has a Master of Arts in counseling from Messiah University, an M.A. in cross-cultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Central Florida.

Francesca Bentley, M.I.P.
Program Associate

Francesca Bentley primarily oversees the Carter Center’s efforts to expand its School-Based Behavioral Health Collaborative. Leading up to her role with The Carter Center, Bentley worked as a public policy research consultant for the National Journal as well as a part-time educational outreach consultant for the Pulitzer Center. While pursuing a Master of Arts in international policy from Stanford University, she worked closely with NATO’s Innovation Unit to provide research and policy support for its Responsible Use of Biotechnology Principles Report and programming. Bentley earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and psychology from Spelman College.

Megan Galvin
Program Assistant

Megan Galvin joined The Carter Center in 2023 to support the Mental Health Program’s Global Behavioral Health team. She previously worked as an administrative assistant in the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Before that, Galvin worked in the nonprofit sector for over seven years in various public-facing roles. Her interest in global mental health began while working with refugees in Clarkston, Georgia, and seeing the unique challenges faced by this population. Galvin holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia, where she graduated from the honors program with minors in French and public health. She is currently a part-time student at Emory University, where she is pursuing a Master of Public Health in global health.

Jessie Zhao, M.P.H.
Program Assistant

Jessie Zhao joined The Carter Center in 2024 to provide support to the Public Policy and Rosalynn Carter Journalism Fellowships team. She graduated with a Master's of Public Health from Emory University in behavioral health and health education. She previously worked as a communications intern at the Task Force for Global Health and supporting Wholesome Wave Georgia's SNAP benefits programs. Her primary interests are behavioral/mental health, health communications, and language use in health care settings.

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