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Patrick J. Kennedy Updates & Activities

As many of you know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which kept Patrick Kennedy on the move. It was a privilege to commemorate the month with communities and leaders across the country – particularly in a year where mental health and substance use make headlines essentially every day. Patrick and team will harness the momentum generated this month as we work towards mental health as essential health and approach The Kennedy Forum’s Alignment for Progress initiative this October.  Keep reading to learn more about Patrick’s May endeavors.

Patrick Kennedy and California First Partner
Jennifer Siebel Newsom at Oracle Park

Noteworthy Activities

Early in May, Patrick Kennedy joined California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom for a panel discussion moderated by San Francisco General Hospital Foundation CEO Kim Meredith at Oracle Park. Following the panel discussion, Patrick and First Partner Newsom jointly threw out the first pitch to celebrate the San Francisco Giants Mental Health Awareness Night. The event was hosted by Pam Baer – philanthropist, mental health advocate, and wife of Giants President & CEO Larry Baer. The evening was a powerful exchange of ideas, insights, and opportunities. 

The Kennedy Forum also hosted a broadcast town hall conversation in early May on stigma, bias, and prejudice in mental health coverage in the U.S. Patrick delivered pre-recorded opening remarks and Amy Kennedy led a discussion inspired by the Surgeon General’s 2021 Advisory on Youth Mental Health, delving into the specific barriers created by prejudice, bias and stigma faced by young people, and the adults in their life. Stay tuned to see this special air on your local PBS channel.

May also served as the kickoff of The Kennedy Forum’s series of convenings at the Kennedy family compound in Cape Cod. The Kennedy Forum’s President & CEO Rebecca Bagley, Chief Policy Officer David Lloyd, and Patrick Kennedy hosted executives for a productive dialogue on transforming our mental health and substance use systems. The Kennedy Forum looks forward to bringing more leaders into the conversation at upcoming sessions as we align for progress.

Partner Spotlight

Braeburn announced last week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved BRIXADI (buprenorphine), their extended-release injection for subcutaneous use (CIII), a new weekly and monthly medication for moderate to severe opioid use disorder. Read their press release here.

Equip is conducting a study to create the first screener for children and teens with an eating disorder in primary care. The study could help increase detection of an eating disorder and ultimately improve early access to eating disorder treatment. Their message here:


If you are the caregiver of a child with an eating disorder aged 6-12 or a teen aged 13-17 with an eating disorder, Equip invites you to take part in this study. You will answer an online survey that will take less than 20-minutes to finish. To say thank you, Equip will give you a $25 Amazon gift card once you finish the survey. If you are the caregiver of a child aged 6-12 and interested in learning more or joining, please visit the study website hereIf you are a teen aged 13-17 and interested in learning more or joining, please visit the study website here.

Upcoming Events

The Kennedy Forum Cape Convenings

June 7-9

Coming off a successful first convening in May, The Kennedy Forum will continue their Cape Convening series in the month of June.  Executives and mental health leaders will be hosted from a variety of sectors to identify pressure points and foster solutions. Stay tuned for more insights coming out of the convenings as The Kennedy Forum continues to align for progress.

2023 Mental and Behavioral Health Summit: Pathways and Partnerships for a Stronger Delaware

June 12

Patrick Kennedy will deliver remarks at the Pathways and Partnerships for a Stronger Delaware Summit led by Delaware Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. The summit is intended to convene local, state, regional, and national thought leaders, community advocates, government officials, business and labor leaders dedicated to elevating the social and economic importance of mental and behavioral health in Delaware.


National Association of Behavioral Healthcare Conference

June 13

At the National Association of Behavioral Healthcare’s (NABH) 90th Anniversary Conference, Patrick will join Assistant Secretary Lisa Gomez of the Employee Benefits and Security Administration for a panel discussion on mental health and addiction parity moderated by NABH’s President & CEO Shawn Coughlin. With Patrick’s role as the lead author of the federal parity act and Assistant Secretary Gomez’s role leading parity efforts in the federal government today, this promises to be a lively discussion.


SNF Nostos Conference

June 21 - 23

Patrick and Amy Kennedy will travel to Greece for the SNF Nostos 2023 Conference to speak about suicide prevention, mental health, and substance use. In addition to Patrick and Amy, this year’s conference draws thought leaders from across the globe including former U.S. President Barack Obama; Marjorie Morrison, Psych Hub; Valerie Biden Owens, Biden Institute; David Hogg, March For Our Lives; Tim Shriver, Special Olympics; California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom; Michael Milham, Child Mind Institute; and Glenn Close, Bring Change to Mind. 

In the News 

Patrick and Amy jointly participated in SAMHSA’s “Talk They Hear You” campaign podcast, “What Parents Are Saying — Prevention Wisdom, Authenticity, and Empowerment.” Together they discussed how mental health and addiction influence their parenting, behavior modeling, and intentionality in day-to-day life. Patrick and Amy were honored to be the first parenting couple to ever appear on the podcast together. Listen to their candid and poignant episode here.

As always, thank you for reading!

Kara Kukfa 
Chief of Staff 
Patrick J. Kennedy

There’s still a long way to go in achieving Mental Health as Essential Health, so The Kennedy Forum is hitting the ground running this year, ready to drive change. Won’t you join us? Follow The Kennedy Forum on social media or donate to support the vital work we do. Together we can make a difference.