Speaker Bios

Kavita Patel is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution as well as a practicing primary care physician with leadership experience at Johns Hopkins Medicine. In her role at the Brookings Institution, Dr. Patel was instrumental in the development of several specialty payment models that have been adopted by Medicare. Dr. Patel was previously a Director of Policy for The White House under President Obama and a senior advisor to the late Senator Edward Kennedy. Her prior research in healthcare quality and community approaches to mental illness have earned national recognition and she has published numerous papers and book chapters on healthcare reform and health policy. She has testified before Congress several times and she is a frequent guest expert on NPR, CBS, NBC and MSNBC as well as serving on the editorial board of the journal Health Affairs.

Matt Colaciello is a filmmaker, producer, and creative strategist who works with communities and organizations on the front lines of social and environmental justice. He has spent much of his career building cross-cultural understanding and organizational partnerships between the United States, India, Indonesia, the Amazon, and West Africa. His independent productions and work for non-profit clients raises awareness and emboldens advocacy online and at international forums like the United Nations Conference of Partners and the Bali International Film Festival. His most recent project, Unconditional Care, spotlights the movement of Muslim doctors opening free clinics across America through a documentary film and quantitive impact report created in collaboration with researchers from Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Boston University’s School of Family Medicine.

Dr. Omar Shareef was certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid in July 2016 and has conducted 16 trainings for the Muslim and other faith communities in New York. He is a graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine, where he earned both his MD and MBA degrees. He is currently a 2nd year PGY2 psychiatry resident physician at Nassau University Medical Center in New York. He is affiliated with the Khalil Center where he is pursuing training in islamically-integrated psychotherapy, and also serves as the President of Muslims Thrive, a NY-based Muslim mental health organization. He likes to incorporate actual Muslim-based patient case studies and examples from his clinical experiences to help enrich his MHFA trainings, and uses his training in psychiatry to help give more in depth discussions of the MHFA curriculum.


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