Breaking Barriers While Building Community Partnerships
Suicide prevention is a vigorous but determined collection of strategies & efforts to eliminate suicide as a public health epidemic at individual and community levels.
‘Breaking Barriers While Building Community Partnerships’ considers the warning signs and healing strategies while examining and recognizing different approaches to eliminate this public health epidemic, promoting prevention resources and postvention supportive strategies.
The Forum will engage the community, improve information, communication, understanding, and resources regarding veteran suicide, and suicide pre/postvention, and complement the continuum of care while mitigating the risk of suicide with prevention and early intervention.
Rear Admiral Matthew E. Kleiman, MSW, LCSW
Assistant US Surgeon General
U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
RADM Matthew Kleiman is an Assistant U.S. Surgeon General and the senior uniformed behavioral health official in the US Public Health Service, advising the Assistant Secretary of Health and US Surgeon General on a broad array of public health matters.
RADM Kleiman is presently assigned to the DOD as a senior executive within the National Guard Bureau (NGB), serving as the Joint Director of Psychological Health and Special Advisor to NGB-J1. In this role, he provides strategic oversight to an enterprise-wide system for psychological health, readiness, and resilience for approximately 440,000 National Guard members and their families. Additionally, he helps to shape and inform prevention and resilience strategies across the Army and Air National Guard and provides executive-level guidance for psychological health program matters at every level.
RADM Kleiman was previously detailed to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) for six years, where he served as the USCG Chief of Behavioral Health Services at their Headquarters Office in DC. Past assignments include being Principal Advisor on Resilience and Behavioral Health for the Office of Health Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), developing behavioral health guidelines across DHS; being National Mental Health Coordinator for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, responsible for coordinating the mental health care for all detained undocumented migrants in the United States; Emergency Response Operations at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Secretary, coordinating HHS disaster response efforts for large scale emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina.
Before transferring to the US Public Health Service, RADM Kleiman was a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force, providing a broad array of direct behavioral health clinical services to Airmen and their families at multiple duty locations. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Tennessee, received his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Georgia, and is a licensed clinical social worker and board-certified diplomat.
Our Forum Panelists
Dr. Dwayne Buckingham
Award-winning psychotherapist, author, speaker and
decorated USAF veteran
Dwayne L. Buckingham, Ph.D., LCSW-C, BCD is a licensed clinical psychotherapist, retired decorated veteran, and CEO of Buckingham Consulting Group, LLC. As a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, he has provided psychological assessments and treatment to over 40,000 individuals, couples, groups, and families worldwide. Through consulting, counseling, coaching, and training, his firm enables individuals and organizations to find solutions to problems and produce sustainable results.
Dr. Buckingham has authored 17 self-help books, produced four documentaries, and is affectionately known as the E.R. Doctor or Empathy and Resilience Doctor. His 25 years of clinical experience and 22 years of military training enable him to serve individuals from all walks of life and consult with organizations with significantly diverse staff and customers. In recognition of his philanthropic and entrepreneurial achievements, he received the distinct designation of 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year from Wes Adams’ State’s Attorney Office, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. His expertise has been relied upon in a wide variety of articles, podcasts, and radio segments.
Dr. Buckingham has been featured on NBC, ABC, Fox 2 News, ESSENCE, The CW 11, The Daily Drum, Huffington Post, and numerous other media outlets as a mental health expert, entrepreneur, consultant, and certified life and executive coach. Additionally, he has provided keynote addresses, consultation, and training for numerous organizations, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, United States Public Health Services (USPHS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Health Resource and Service Administration (HRSA), United States Air Force, First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Allegany College of Maryland (ACM), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Jackson State University (JSU), Black Mental Health Alliance (BMHA), Habitat for Humanity, St. John’s Baptist Church, The Bowman Francis Ministry, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
He holds a B.S.W. in Social Work from Jackson State University, an M.S.W in Clinical Social Work from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Human Services from Capella University. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Social Workers and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
When Dr. Buckingham isn’t empowering individuals, communities, and organizations, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Sandia, and their two children, DJ, and Layla.
Molly Everett Davis MSW, Ed.D, CTTP, A-CTTP
Associate Professor Emeritus (Ret)
Virginia (VCU) Geriatric Faculty Scholar
Department of Social Work, College of Public Health
George Mason University
Dr. Molly Everett Davis is Associate Professor Emeritus, in the Department of Social Work, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. She is an experienced educator, administrator, author, expert trainer, researcher, and program developer. DR Davis was recently awarded Associate Professor Emeritus, by the Board of Visitors upon her recent retirement. She is a faculty scholar with the Virginia Commonwealth University Geriatric Education center.
A graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU) with a B.A. in Psychology, Tulane University, with an MSW degree in Social Work and Florida State University with a doctorate in Higher Education Administration. She holds an advanced certificate in telehealth/telemedicine. Dr. Davis has developed innovative programming in her expertise areas, such as gerontology, suicide prevention, trauma across the life course, trauma informed organizational planning, developing proposal for students in veteran and military services, cultural competency, disaster behavioral health and substance abuse. She is the CEO of Heart and Hands Enterprises, a consultation and training organization.
She has presented in international, national, state, and local conferences to include Oxford University in England, Israel and South Africa. She has worked collaboratively with the U. S. Public Health Service Officers Social Work group and received a commendation for this endeavor.
Ca-Asia Lane, PhD
Dr. Ca-Asia Lane is a retired U.S. Army Commissioned Military Police Officer with over 20+ years of active-duty military service. Prior to retirement, she served on Army staff as the Executive Officer for the Army Suicide Prevention Office. She also served as a military strategist for Army Secretary and former House of Representatives, Congressman John McHugh. In 2008 Ca-Asia was selected as a Defense Congressional Fellow and served in the Office of the late Congressman Elijah Cummings, in Baltimore, MD. Among the many military assignments and deployments, her most rewarding has been company commander, where she deployed a combat Military Police Company in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2005-2006.
Ca-Asia currently serves as a Congressional Affairs Specialist for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Department of Defense (DoD) where she advises DLA senior leadership on all strategic, congressional, and legislative DoD issues as it relates to acquisition, troop support, research and development and finance. Ca-Asia has also served as the Director for the Veterans Health Legislative Affairs, with the Office of Congressional & Legislative Affairs at the VA, where she supervised congressional, legislative, and strategic planning for the Veterans Health Administration, covering suicide prevention, women’s healthcare, and homeless veterans’ portfolios.
Ca-Asia is an advocate for suicide prevention and awareness and is a supporter of suicide survivors. She has shared her own personal story of suicide loss as one of Help, Healing, and Hope, after the tragedy, as a 2020 TEDx Veterans Affairs Alum.
Dr. Lane has a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University and is also a graduate of Georgetown University, Executive Master of Leadership Studies; Old Dominion University; and Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA. She is the author of numerous books to include, including Leaders on the Front Line, Leadership Nuggets for a Generation of Leaders; Free to Dance, A Suicide Survivor’s Memoir; and Changing the Dance, Leadership Nuggets for Dance Ministry Leaders. Her academic publications include Leaders as Artists, A Three-Ring Cord of Creativity, Imagination, and Innovation; An Organizational Leadership Response for Women in Leadership; and Military Grace [in Leadership].
National President, Kentucky GSM Chapter
American Goldstar Mothers
Sarah Taylor is the National President of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. After losing her son, SPC David Taylor on 29 March 2012 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, she joined AGSM in 2013. Instrumental in reorganizing the Kentucky department, Sarah served as the long-term treasurer and recording secretary as well as Department and Chapter President and was elected in 2017 to the National Executive Board of AGSM.
Sarah’s tenure has included a number of positions, and appointments to 10 committees within the NEB, and boosted her drive to serve our Veterans, Active Military and Gold Star families. Sarah’s fierce passion for our Vietnam Veterans, along with her sway of building bridges and strengthening partnerships with other VSOs played a crucial role in AGSM’s invitation to be the honorary partner of the Vietnam War 50th Commemorative’s Welcome Home.
Known for her sincerity, frankness, openness about the suicide epidemic, and unwavering support for mothers whose child has succumbed to their war demons, Sarah was chosen as the keynote speaker for the STOP SUISILENCE SUMMIT in Palm Springs, Ca. and as the opening and closing workshop for the Cohen Veterans Bioscience Brain Health Symposium. Sarah is a known vocal advocate for bringing awareness to Military and Veteran suicide.
As her passion to serve grew, Sarah joined the Gen. Samuel Hopkins chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution holding board seats as Vice Regent, Chaplain, Americanism, and Service to Veterans. Sarah has a deep love of country and a position on educating our youth about history and patriotism. Sarah co-chairs the Veterans Day program at South Middle School where each student writes to a local Veteran.
In Kentucky, Sarah sits on the Henderson Veterans Memorial Foundation, Daviess Co Veterans Commission, Honor and Remember-Ky, Ky Run For The Fallen, and Three Havens Horse Sanctuary. Sarah is a charter member of the Chloe Randolph Organization which focuses on domestic violence. Nationally, Sarah serves on the American Gold Star Manor/Home Board, Gold Star Coalition and AngelForceUSA board. Sarah is a lifetime member of the VFW Post 1114 Auxiliary, American Legion Auxiliary Post Unit 233, and Rolling Thunder Ky Chapter 1. She is involved with the send-off/welcome home for the Bluegrass Honor Flight and So. Indiana Honor Flight and is a certified Hospice volunteer.
Sarah has been presented with two Kentucky Colonels, which is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Ky, with numerous appreciation awards, and was the 2022 Grand Marshall for Wreaths Across America Escort to Arlington National Cemetery.
Rev. Carol Ramsey-Lucas, BCC
Chief, Chaplain Service
Integrated Ethics Program Officer
Washington DC VA Medical Center
Chaplain Carol Ramsey-Lucas was appointed Washington DC VA Medical Center's Chief of Chaplain Service in February 2014. She is responsible for coordinating and supervising the work of an interfaith chaplaincy staff to assure that the spiritual needs of Veterans are well met in an interdisciplinary setting. This includes ministry to inpatient and outpatient Veterans who are facing illnesses, spiritual and moral injuries, and end-of-life concerns. She oversees a dynamic Chaplain Service that includes Warrior to Soulmate Weekend Relationship Retreats, grief, and bereavement groups, post-COVID support groups, and an innovative Spirituality and the Arts program.
Rev. Ramsey-Lucas is a Board-Certified Chaplain with more than 22 years of experience in chaplain service at the Washington DC VA Medical Center. During the COVID pandemic, she coordinated the work of a team addressing the need to support staff experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout in the healthcare setting.
Rev. Ramsey-Lucas received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Maryland and her Master of Divinity Degree from Andover Newton Theological School.
Commander Stephanie Felder, PhD, LCSW, LCAS-A, ACTTP
U.S. Public Health Service
Chief Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Public Health Emergency Response Strike Team
Dr. Stephanie Felder is a Commander (CDR) in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She serves as the Region 3 Officer in Charge and Chief Licensed Clinical Social Worker within the Office of the Secretary (OS), Office of the Assistant Secretary (OASH), Office of Surgeon General, Commissioned Corps Headquarters’ Public Health Emergency Response Strike Team (PHERST). As a PHERST clinical social worker, she provides rapid response to regional, national, and global public health emergencies. CDR Felder is known for her deployment leadership with USPHS. In 2022, CDR Felder served as the Officer-in-Charge for one of the Afghan repatriation missions. She served on the leadership team for 300 staff and 115 Afghan unaccompanied minors, resulting in the protection of mission members and the settlement of refugees.
Among the most notable of her deployments was her exemplary leadership as the Behavioral Health Officer-in-Charge at the Javits Center during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City from March to May 2020. As Officer-in-Charge, she led an integrated Joint Service Behavioral Health Team of 30+ service members that included psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers. The team provided behavioral health support to the 2,500+ staff and patients within the Javits Center and support for mortuary affairs and transfers to outlying hospitals. Under her leadership, the team resulted in 6,000+ behavioral health encounters with staff and patients providing an array of behavioral health services. In 2019, CDR Felder served in a leadership role in support of the humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. During Hurricane Florence in 2018, she was the Lead Case Manager/Discharge Planner and Liaison to the North Carolina State Emergency Operations Center.
In her last duty station, she served as the Chief of Traumatic Brain Injury Outcomes for the Defense Health Agency, Research and Development (J-9), Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence. In this role, CDR Felder provided oversight of traumatic brain injury outcomes for the 450K+ U.S. Armed Forces’ active-duty personnel and veterans and families impacted by traumatic brain injury.
CDR Felder has spent nearly 11 years in various positions of leadership in the U.S. Public Health Service providing program management, technical assistance, research, evaluation, and data analysis within several agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services. Her experience includes oversight of grants for HIV/AIDS services for medically underserved patients, technical assistance for communities experiencing natural disasters, and supervision of clinical standards and quality for hospice and home health agencies.
CDR Felder is the Board Director for the American Board of Clinical Social Work (ABCSW) and serves as Chair of Education. She also serves as the Director of Continuing Education for ABCSW. CDR Felder is an adjunct faculty member at Tulane University where she teaches research and leadership courses. In 2022, she won the United States Public Health Service Senior Social Worker of the Year.
Prior to active duty, CDR Felder served as the Healthcare for Homeless Veteran Coordinator for the Fayetteville VA Medical Center in North Carolina. As a national representative of female veterans experiencing homelessness, she advocated for their unique needs. She received a full academic scholarship from The Catholic University of America and completed a doctoral degree in social work which focused on homelessness among female veterans. She has a remarkable 15-year record of advocacy efforts focused on homelessness, female veterans, emergency management, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and economically oppressed communities.
Dr. Robert L. Beckman, Ph.D
Executive Director, TreatNow.org
Chief Knowledge Officer
Foundation for the Study of Inflammatory Disease (FSID)
ROBERT L. BECKMAN, Ph.D., Exec. Dir. TreatNOW.org, and Chief Knowledge Officer, Foundation for the Study of Inflammatory Disease. Dr. Beckman has been building knowledge management systems for most of his professional career, primarily in the Intelligence Community and DOD. Working pro bono with dozens of veterans and hundreds of clinicians and researchers, The TreatNOW Coalition Mission is to end service member suicides by treating and healing brain wounds. The Coalition has coordinated successful treatments of over 21,000 veterans, athletes, first responders, and citizens using Hyperbaric Oxygenation and other alternative therapies for brain wounds. The success rate is over 99%. The Coalition coordinates over 140 Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) clinics and educates legislators at the state and national levels. Ten states have passed legislation to use HBOT for TBI and PTSD; five have appropriated in excess of $15M to treat Veterans. Dr. Beckman is a former USAF KC-135 pilot and a Vietnam Veteran. He taught at the Naval Academy and grew six companies to profitability while raising three sons.
Board Chair (Volunteer)
Maryland Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Greg Reuss serves as Board Chair (Volunteer) for the Maryland Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). His focus areas include suicide prevention education, advocacy, and coalition building. Mr. Reuss retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2007, having served 30 years in a combination of operational and staff assignments. He then worked in the defense industry through 2016. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, U.S. Army War College and Salisbury University. He currently works part-time as a Licensed Master Social Worker at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Mr. Reuss is an active community volunteer, supporting AFSP, the Maryland Governor’s Challenge Team, and the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership.
Jennifer Bornemann, LCSW-C, BCD
United States Public Health Service
Jennifer Bornemann is a Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service who serves as the Acting Team Lead for Disaster Behavioral Health, Division of Community Mitigation, Office of Community Mitigation and Recovery, Office of Response for the HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR.) She transitioned from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where she served as the agency’s Resilience Officer providing leadership and support through the conceptualization, development and execution of programs and communication strategies throughout the CDC organization.
Formerly, CAPT Bornemann worked as a public health advisor in the suicide prevention branch at SAMHSA and as a program manager for the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. CAPT Bornemann also provided clinical social work services at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. She was a member of the USPHS Services Access Team (SAT) – 3 and has deployed numerous times, including the Camp Fire wildfire in Paradise (CA), Hurricane Recovery in St. Croix (USVI), Ebola epidemic in Liberia, Washington Navy Yard shooting, Superstorm Sandy (NJ), Umpqua Community College (OR) shooting and the severe flooding event in Baton Rouge (LA.)
Prior to joining the U.S. Public Health Service, CAPT Bornemann was a Vice President with the Credit Suisse Americas Foundation, based in NYC. In her career, she has also worked as a Legislative Assistant for former U.S. Congressman Porter Goss and as a project coordinator at the State University of New York’s Research Foundation as well as the Council on Foreign Relations. CAPT Bornemann received her M.S. from Columbia University’s School of Social Work and her B.A. from the University of Maryland. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW-C) in the state of Maryland and has earned the credential of Board-Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work. CAPT Bornemann is a three-time Ironman triathlon finisher.
Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber
Professor of Psychiatry
Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber is an international leader in driving complex societal change in the area of suicide prevention. She is a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. The former President of the American Psychiatric Association noted her work with the Columbia Protocol could be “like the introduction of antibiotics.” The U.S. Department of Defense said her work is “nothing short of a miracle” and that "her effective model of improving the world will help propel us closer to a world without suicide,” and the White House recently highlighted the Columbia Protocol DHS app as helping to achieve the President’s mental health and suicide prevention initiatives. The CDC noted that her work is “changing the paradigm in suicide risk assessment in the U.S. and worldwide.”
Dr. Posner’s work has been noted in a keynote speech at the White House and in Congressional hearings, and she gave the lead presentation in a U.S. Senate forum on school safety after Parkland. Jim Shelton, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama, says her work “has the potential to keep the 64 million children in our schools safe physically and mentally by helping prevent school violence.” Stand with Parkland's parents said, “We found another big piece of the school shooting puzzle – an antibiotic for suicide. This … could fundamentally change the game for early identification and intervention.” The leadership of Israel’s national suicide prevention program articulated her work’s impact: “It’s not only saving millions of lives but in Israel it is literally changing the way we live our lives.”
Through her advocacy, she has helped change local, national, and international policy, which in turn has contributed to reductions in suicide across all sectors of society. She has worked closely with CDC, DOE, FDA, DOD, VA, DHS, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and others. The Columbia Protocol is policy across all 50 states, national agencies, and most countries. The FDA has characterized her work as “setting a standard in the field” and a lead article in The New York Times called it “one of the most profound changes of the past sixteen years to regulations.”
Dr. Posner gave the invited presentation on tackling depression and suicide at the first European Union high-level conference on mental health and was recognized as the Most Distinguished Alumna of her graduate school at Yeshiva University over past 50 years, since its inception. Her scholarly work has been included in the compendium of the most important research in the history of the study of suicide and was recognized as one of top 20 most influential scientists from Columbia University across all areas of medicine over the past 10 years.
In recognition of her suicide prevention work with the military and veteran communities, Dr. Posner was awarded the Undersecretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.