Jessica Pollard, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Director of the Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP) Clinic based at the Connecticut Mental Health Center, has been elected Chair of the Mental Health Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA).
As the nation’s leading public health organization, APHA works to advance prevention, reduce health disparities, and promote wellness. Its Mental Health Section has members from nearly all 50 states and 17 countries. According to its website, members share research, policies, and practices that address the mental and physical health and well-being of diverse and vulnerable populations; promote fluency with the principles and strategies of population behavioral health; and advocate for effective and evidence-based interventions, programs, systems, and policies, including strategies designed to address the stigma of mental illness.
Pollard’s term as Chair-Elect and Program Chair of the Mental Health Section at the annual APHA conference begins in November, after which she will be Chair for two years.
She said her goal as Chair-Elect is to promote evidence-based services and policy, to increase the activity of section members, to advocate for further reform of mental health programs and legislation, and to mentor the next generation of public mental health professionals.
Pollard has been active in the section since she was a graduate student. She has served as an abstract reviewer, Deputy Program Chair, Program Chair, moderator, presenter, panelist and is currently on the Program Planning Committee.
She has extensive experience in the field of early psychosis treatment and research, having completed a two-year fellowship at Yale, where she was the first project director for STEP. In 2009, she received the APHA Mental Health Section Award for excellence in the field of public mental health.