top of page

Patrick J. Kennedy in conversation with Jonathan Sherin, MD, PhD, former Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. 


When Patrick Kennedy’s uncle, President John F. Kennedy, published his classic book Profiles in Courage, he hoped to inspire “political courage” by telling the stories of brave U.S. senators who changed America. In Profiles in Mental Health Courage, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy adapts President Kennedy’s theme to inspire the “mental health courage” it takes for those living with mental illness to seek and undergo treatment.  


Profiles in Mental Health Courage co-written with award-winning healthcare journalist, Stephen Fried, portrays the dramatic journeys and compelling stories of the bravery and resilience of those living with mental illness and addictions.  In this powerful new book, we meet people of all ages, backgrounds, and futures, across politics and government, Hollywood and the arts, tech and business, sports and science—some recovering, some relapsing, some just barely holding on. who share their untold stories of their illnesses, treatments, and struggles for the first time. While the resounding silence and stigma surrounding these illnesses remains persistent, the stories in Profiles in Mental Health Courage inspire the profound need for connection, empathy, and action.


Pre-order Profiles in Mental Health Courage today!


Patrick J. Kennedy, during his time in Congress, was the lead author of the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law), which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer. In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit group that unites advocates, business leaders, and government agencies to advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming in mental health and addiction. In 2015, Kennedy co-authored The New York Times Bestseller, A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction, which details a bold plan for the future of mental health care in America. In 2023, The Kennedy Forum launched the Alignment for Progress, a movement to align leaders from across industry and across the aisle to achieve 90/90/90 by 2033: 90% of all individuals will be screened for mental health and substance use disorders; 90% of those screened will be able to receive evidence-based treatment; 90% of those receiving treatment will be able to manage their symptoms in recovery. Kennedy’s second co-authored book Profiles in Mental Health Courage available April 2024 will delve into the compelling stories of a diverse group of Americans who have struggled with their mental health – many of whom are sharing their stories for the first time. 


Kennedy is also the founder of, an educational campaign that empowers consumers and providers to understand parity rights and connects them to essential appeals guidance and resources;co-founder of One Mind, an organization that pushes for greater global investment in brain research; co-chair of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19 (National Response); and co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Behavioral Health Integration Task Force. 


Jonathan Sherin, MD, PhD is a psychiatrist and neurobiologist and until recently was the Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, the largest public mental health system in the United States. In this role, he pushed for wholesale systems transformation by insisting upon a bottom-up culture wherein “grass-roots guide grass-tops”, focusing relentlessly on the build-out of community-based (as opposed to institutional) programs, policies, and practices, and advocating fiercely for payment reform based on behavioral health parity laws and outcomes-driven reimbursement strategies.  


Dr. Sherin has spent his entire career advocating “heart forward” on behalf of vulnerable individuals, families, and communities in numerous clinical, teaching, research, and administrative posts. He currently serves on multiple public and private boards to advance the health and wellbeing of America’s most in-need populations and provides consultation for domestic and international projects that promote human flourishing (aka Aristotle’s “Eudaemonia”).


Before his LA County tenure, Dr. Sherin served as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President for Volunteers of America (national), a community-based safety net provider that reaches, supports,and impacts disenfranchised populations in every state across the country.


In addition, he worked for over a decade in the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), serving in his last post as Chief of Mental Health for the Miami VA and Vice-Chairman for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami. 


Dr. Sherin has functioned in numerous other capacities throughout his career but takes special pride in the consultation he engaged alongside VA Secretary Robert McDonald to settle an ACLU lawsuit successfully levied against the federal government. As part of this effort, he oversaw the design of a master plan to convert the VA’s West Los Angeles property from a medical campus into a fully resourced “Reintegration Community”. The plan, currently being implemented, represents a national model for veterans struggling to thrive as civilians at home. 


In addition to his work in the health and human services sector, Dr. Sherin is an accomplished neuroscientist who has published in neurobiology and psychiatry. He received international acclaim for his research identifying a core sleep-circuit in mammals (the “sleep switch”, featured in Science magazine) and received a prestigious Kempf Award from the American Psychiatric Association for his conceptual model of the psychotic process. 


Dr. Sherin completed his undergraduate study at Brown University, his graduate work at the University of Chicago and Harvard, and his psychiatry residency training at UCLA.  He is currently a volunteer clinical professor at UCLA and USC, Principal of The Eudaemonia Group, a father, writer, cook, surfer, and budding sailor.

Please note that we overbook the venue because of the high volume of no-shows. Please plan to arrive early to secure your seat. 

To watch videos of our past Open Mind programs, please visit our YouTube Channel

Registration is required for this free in-person event.
Seating is limited.


Reception and Book signing following the program.

Wednesday, May 15
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (6:30 Check-in)

Ronald Reagan Medical Center
Tamkin Auditorium
Parking Structure 8


bottom of page