42nd Annual
Legislative Breakfast on Mental Health 

Building Access to Care:
Paradigm, Partnership & Possibilities

February 1st, 2020
10:00 – 1:30pm
exhibitor area opens at 8:30

The UNC Friday Center
100 Friday Center Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


For Questions About The Event, email:  info@legislativebreakfastmh.org
Visit Our Sponsor Pages

Photo Gallery from This Year’s Event (2020)


Speakers & Panel


Senator Mike Woodard

Mike Woodard is the North Carolina State Senator representing District 22: Durham, Granville, and Person counties. Before joining the General Assembly in 2013, Senator Woodard served on the Durham City Council for seven years. In his professional life, Senator Woodard is a long-time administrator with Duke University and the Duke Health System. He also worked as an administrator and instructor at Durham Technical Community College. A native of Wilson, NC, he graduated from Duke with degrees in economics, political science, and non-profit management. Read more…




Representative Sydney Batch

Sydney Batch is a lawyer, social worker, and child welfare advocate who was raised in North Carolina. Sydney received her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she remained for her Juris Doctorate and Masters of Social Work. Following law school, Sydney entered private practice with her husband, J. Patrick Williams. She is the founding partner at the law firm, Batch, Poore & Williams, PC. Her practice primarily focuses on family law, child welfare law and appellate work. Read more… 


State of the State – Mental Health

Dr. Mandy K. Cohen Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Dr. Mandy Cohen was appointed to the role of Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in January 2017 by Governor Roy Cooper. Secretary Cohen and her team work tirelessly to improve the health, safety and well-being of all North Carolinians. DHHS has 17,000 employees and an annual budget of $20 billion serving as the home to NC Medicaid, Public Health, Mental Health/IDD/SUD, State Operated Hospitals and Facilities, Economic Services, Adult and Child Services, Early Childhood Education, Employment Services, and Health Services Regulation. Secretary Cohen and her team are focused on building a strong, efficient Medicaid program, improving early childhood health, safety and education and combatting the opioid crisis. Read more…




Kody H. Kinsley Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health & Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at DHHS

Kody H. Kinsley serves as the Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health & Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at DHHS. He leads state-wide public policy and operations that promote whole-person health by developing prevention methods, interventions, and systems of care for individuals living with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and substance use disorders. To that end, he oversees the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, which develops policy and funds community-based services and supports. Read more…





Debra C. Farrington, Chief of Staff for the Deputy Secretary of NC Medicaid

Debra C. Farrington, Chief of Staff for the Deputy Secretary of NC Medicaid, is a native North Carolinian reared and educated in rural Columbus County, N.C. She received a BA in Psychology and Master of Social Work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a licensed clinical social worker with over 30 years of experience in community based services for children and adults with behavioral health needs. Read more…

Building Access to Care:

Megan Wingate, MS, LMFT
Easterseals UCP

Megan Wingate is the Program Director for outpatient and enhanced mental health services at Easterseals UCP. Megan has been with Easterseals UCP for 8 years and has lead the organization in bringing evidenced- based models statewide to their enhanced child services, helping to establish models like Ecosystemic Family Therapy, TFCBT and Triple P. Megan received her master’s degree from East Carolina University in Marriage and Family Therapy and has worked in community mental health for the past 10 years. Her passion for individuals living with mental health challenges motivated her to spearhead the development of an award winning program named Community Assessment and Response to Expedite Services (CARES). CARES provides meaningful and supportive interventions designed to engage and quickly link children and their families to services following a mental health crisis.

Deborah Richardson, LPC,LCAS,ACS

Deborah Richardson has worked in the Behavioral Health Profession since 1987. She started her career in Ohio as Juvenile Court Counselor in 1987 and after relocating to North Carolina in 1988 she started her work with Wake County Children and Family Services. For the past 30 years she has worked to support families and children in Wake County. She has worked in both the public and private sectors with a focus on School Based Mental Health for the past 16 years. As the Clinical Director with SouthLight Judicial Services she co-wrote the MAJORS grant to support children in the Judicial system to access services and was published in Sociological literature for her research with zip codes and access to services for Substance Abuse Services and Education. In her current role as the Supervisor of the Alliance School Based team she continues to support school based mental health and develop with Wake County Schools and Community Partners innovative and evidence based strategies to support the Behavioral Health needs of children and families. She works to support School Based mental Health Initiatives with her work in the Community Resiliency Model as part of training with Wake County Schools and is part of the ACE Steering Committee. Under her leadership, the School Based Team won the Innovations Award for improvement of services in 2017 in partnership with Wake County Schools and again in 2019 won it for partnership with Easter Seals CARES for i2i Innovations Award for Quality Commitment.

Lived Experience Panel:

Representative Graig Meyer

Representative Graig Meyer has been a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives since 2013. He represents House District 50, currently serving constituents in portions of Orange and Caswell Counties. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the House Democrats Campaign Committee. As a trained social worker, Rep. Meyer approaches legislation with an eye towards protecting those who are marginalized, vulnerable and oppressed. Beyond his professional interests, Rep. Meyer also has lived experience with mental health challenges as the parent of an adopted child who has been a mental health consumer from childhood through adulthood.


Representative Carla Cunningham

Representative Carla Cunningham ​represents the 106​th ​District in the North Carolina  State House of Representatives. Before being elected to the North Carolina General  Assembly in 2012, Carla was working as a Hospice Nurse and fulfilling her appointment  to the North Carolina Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and  Substance Abuse Services. An active civic and community leader, she is a recognized  national advocate for women and children, Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities,  and Substance Abuse, and Healthcare. Read more



Honorable Matt Hughes

Matt Hughes has been involved in public service, Democratic politics, and progressive causes for over a decade. Matt was raised in Hillsborough, attended Orange County Public Schools, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Carolina Covenant Scholar. He currently works with the Forward Cities, a non-profit focused on developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, and recently graduated with a Master of Public Administration from UNC’s School of Government. Read more…


Legislative Q & A Panel

moderated by Rose Hoban

Rose Hoban (Founder, Editor, Reporter) spent more than six years as the health reporter for North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC, where she covered health care, state health policy, science and research with a focus on public health issues. She left to start North Carolina Health News after watching many of her professional peers leave or be laid off of their jobs, leaving NC with few people to cover this complicated and important topic.

Hoban took a circuitous route into journalism—after a decade of practicing nursing, she enrolled at UC Berkeley’s journalism school. While at Berkeley, she also earned a master’s in public health policy.
Hoban’s work has been recognized both regionally and nationally with numerous awards, including broadcast’s highest award – the Columbia-DuPont – a Gracie Award, an Edward R. Morrow award, and a Society for Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade award. In 2010, she was awarded a fellowship by the Association of Health Care Journalists to do in-depth reporting on North Carolina’s mental health system. She has also been a Knight Digital Media Fellow. See more about North Carolina Health News

Q and A Panel:
Senator Burgin (R – District 12) Harnett, Johnson, Lee Counties
Rep Josh Dobson (R – District 85) Avery, McDowell, Mitchell Counties
Senator Danny Earl Britt, Jr (R – District 13) Columbus, Robeson Counties
Rep Marcia Morey (D – District 30) Durham County
Rep Carla Cunningham (D – District 106) Mecklenburg


Senator Jim Burgin

Senator Jim Burgin was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he graduated with honors and earned a B.A. in Business Administration.

Senator Burgin is a longtime resident of Harnett County and current president & owner of C&D Insurance with two offices located in Harnett County. He also serves as Chairman of the Board for New Horizon Insurance Group, Vice-Chair of Central Carolina Community College, and President of B.C. Property Inc., a real estate development company. Senator Burgin is also a partner in John Hiester Automotive which owns Chevrolet and Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealerships.

Previously, Senator Burgin served two terms as Harnett County Commissioner and was the chairman for three years.

He is humbled to represent the people of Senate District 12, which encompasses Harnett, Lee and Johnston Counties. Senator Burgin and his wife, Ann, have been married 39 years, and have three children and three grandchildren.

Representative Marcia Morey

Representative Marcia Morey sits on the Appropriations, Appropriations-Capital, Education-Universities, Judiciary, and Transportation Committees. She is also a member of the North Carolina Courts Commission.

Representative Morey was named an honorary sponsor of the Raise the Age legislation which passed in 2018. The law guarantees that children under age 18 charged with minor offenses appear in juvenile court and are entitled to the resources offered in juvenile court.

In addition to raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, Representative Morey has been an advocate for reasonable gun safety laws, criminal justice and redistricting reform.

Representative Carla Cunningham

Representative Carla Cunningham ​represents the 106​th ​District in the North Carolina State House of Representatives. Before being elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in 2012, Carla was working as a Hospice Nurse and fulfilling her appointment to the North Carolina Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. An active civic and community leader, she is a recognized national advocate for women and children, Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse, and Healthcare. Read more…



Representative Josh Dobson

Representative Josh Dobson, Co-Chair, House HHS Appropriations, NC General Assembly is the State Representative for the 85th District. He was appointed to the seat in 2013, and was re-elected in 2015.

Before becoming a State Representative, Dobson was elected as County Commissioner, serving for two years. Currently, Dobson serves as Chairman of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee and chairs the Health House Standing Committee. He was also appointed Chairman of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, and chairs the subcommittee on aging.

Dobson has a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Gardner Webb University, a master’s in Public Administration from Appalachian State University, and an associate’s degree from McDowell Technical Community College.


Senator Danny Earl Britt, Jr.

Senator Danny Earl Britt, Jr.  is a North Carolina State Senator representing District 13, Columbus and Robeson Counties. Britt assumed office on January 1, 2017.

Senator Britt is Co-Chair of the Judiciary, Appropriation, and Public Safety Committees, and a member of the Appropriations, Pensions, Retirement and Aging, Redistricting and Elections, and Transportation Committees. He also served on Interim Committees, Transportation, Governmental Operations, LRC Committee on Private Process Servers, NC Sentencing Policy and Advisory Commission, Administrative Procedures Oversight, Vice Chair of Justice and Public safety Oversight Committee, and Co-Chair of Emergency Management.

A Robeson County native, Britt earned his undergraduate degree at Appalachian State University, and law school in Oklahoma. He has practiced law for 15 years, both as prosecutor, and attorney in private practice.
Enlisted in the Army Nation Guard at age 17, Britt has served 21 years with deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. He currently holds the rank of Major.


Senator Jay Chaudhuri

Senator Jay Chaudhuri represents District 15 in Wake County in the North Carolina Senate. Senator Chaudhuri was originally appointed to the Senate in April 2016 to fill the District 16 seat vacated by Josh Stein when Stein announced his campaign for Attorney General. Following court ordered redistricting, Senator Chaudhuri ran for and won the District 16 seat in the 2018 election. In January 2019 his colleagues elected him Senate Minority Whip for the Democratic Caucus

For the 2019-2020 Legislative session his Select Committee assignments include: Appropriations on Agriculture, Natural and Economic Resources; Appropriations/Base Budget; Education/Higher Education; Pensions and Retirement and Aging; and Rules and Operations of the Senate. He also serves on the Municipal Incorporations Subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Committee on Local Government; Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Capital Improvements.

Born in Chattanooga, TN, the Senator’s family moved to Fayetteville NC when he was 3 years old. He attended high school in Fayetteville and earned degrees at Davidson College and Columbia University. A graduate of North Carolina Central University School of Law, he has served as an aide to senior elected NC officials, taught law as an adjunct professor at NCCU and been in private practice.


Building Access to Care

Each year the Legislative Breakfast on Mental Health provides an opportunity for leading voices from across North Carolina to engage in a meaningful and well-informed dialogue with consumers and providers around topics of critical importance to mental health care in the state. The focus of this year’s Legislative Breakfast is Access to Care: Paradigm, Partnership & Possibilities.

With the current move to address whole person care, this year’s event brings focus to some of the disparities between physical and mental health services and features some exciting partnerships from across the state preparing to meet these needs.

Celebrating 42 years, this banner event draws key state and local officials and legislators from across the state as well as mental health advocates, consumers, providers and friends. All attendees have the opportunity to participate in the Q&A panel and ask legislators your most pressing questions pertaining to access to care. This year the Breakfast will feature an exciting lived experience panel with elected officials who will share their personal experiences and challenges in accessing services. With remarks from top officials, a keynote presentation featuring Easterseals innovative C.A.R.E.S pilot program, door prizes and much more, this year’s event promises to enrich and enliven public discourse surrounding mental health care and our most critical gaps and needs.

Rep. Paul Luebke Legislative Champion in Mental Health Award

Rep. Paul Luebke Legislative Champion on Mental Health Award

Rep. Paul Luebke (1946 – 2016)

Rep. Paul Luebke, (D-Durham), passed away October 29, 2016. He participated in most every Annual Legislative Breakfast on Mental Health since elected to serve in the NC General Assembly over 25 years ago. He was a true champion of mental health reform and had a heart to assist vulnerable and under-served populations. His energy, commitment, leadership and sense of humor are sorely missed. In his memory, the Legislative Breakfast on Mental Health Planning Committee members have created the “Rep. Paul Luebke Legislative Champion on Mental Health Award.” The award is presented annually to a member of the NC General Assembly recognized for their outstanding leadership and demonstrated commitment to improving outcomes for individuals living with mental illness.

Representative Josh Dobson

We are pleased to announce that Representative Josh Dobson is the recipient of the 2020 Representative Paul Luebke Legislative Champion on Mental Health Award.

Representative Dobson has been a member of the North Carolina General Assembly State Legislature since 2013 representing District 85, comprised of McDowell, Mitchell and Avery counties. Serving as chairman of both the Health Policy Committee and the Appropriations Committee, he has worked “diligently to find consensus while producing conservative, common sense solutions.”

According to those who have worked with him, if you want anything done related to healthcare at the General Assembly, look to Representative Dobson. He has been a key advocate for improving and expanding behavioral health services including revisions to licensure protocols for service providers. He is known for not backing down when things needed to get done and has worked across the aisle to help build consensus among legislative groups.

In appreciation for his tireless advocacy, Representative Josh Dobson is being recognized as a true champion for behavioral health care in North Carolina.

2019 Senator Floyd B. McKissick Jr. is presented with the Third Annual Rep, Paul Luebke Legislative Champion on Mental Health Award. Senator McKissick is acknowledged with this award for his advocacy for children and young people, and his support of services that are crucial to their well-being and success in school and life.
Senator Tommy Tucker and Senator Tamara Barringer 2018
Rep. Verla Insko receives the Luebke Award 2017 from Julie J. Bailey

Sponsors & Exhibitors


Addiction Recovery Care Association (ARCA)

Alberta Professional Services

*Alliance Health

*Cansler Collaborative Resources, Inc

Caramore Community Inc

Cardinal Innovations

Carolina Outreach

*Carolina Public Press

*ClearWind Farm

Club Nova

Coastal Horizons Center

*Eagala (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association)

Easterseals UCP

Faith Connections on Mental Illness

Holly Hill

Josh’s Hope Foundation, Inc.

KidSCope/Durham Head Start


Mental Health America of Central Carolinas

National Alliance on Mental Illness – North Carolina

National Alliance on Mental Illness – Wake County

National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter

North Carolina Health News

*NC Occupational Therapy Association

New Destinations

Partners Behavioral Health Management

Pharmacy Alternatives

Sandhills Center

Shared Visions Foundation

Sharpe & Williams

*Southern Pharmacy Service


*Trillium Health Resources

UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health

*Voices Together

Youth Haven Services



American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – NC Chapter

Big S.T.E.P.S. U. P.

*Fragile Families Network

National Alliance on Mental Illness – Orange County

*NC Providers Council

NCFASD Informed

NC State Consumer & Family Advisory Committee (CFAC)


*New in 2020