Broadband Prescriptions for Mental Health: A Policy Conference

9:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT
Bates Law Building, University of Houston Law Center, 4604 Calhoun Road, Houston, TX 77204-6060


On May 18, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect2Health Task Force traveled to Houston, Texas to highlight how broadband-enabled health technologies can improve access to mental health care and to discuss associated policy issues.  Co-hosted by the University of Houston Law Center’s Health Law & Policy Institute, Broadband Prescriptions for Mental Health explored how connected environments can be used to improve mental and behavioral health and will spotlight the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine’s efforts in this area. 

The event, coinciding with National Mental Health Awareness Month, was part of the Connect2HealthFCC Task Force’s “Beyond the Beltway Series” to reach out broadly about the transformative power of broadband technologies and next-generation communications services to improve access to health and care services throughout the country, especially in rural and underserved areas. 

The National Institute on Mental Health reports that one in five American adults experience a mental illness in any given year, but only about 40% of those people access mental health services.  Similarly, the Health Resources and Services Administration estimates that more than 80 million Americans live in areas with a shortage of mental health professionals.  Connected health technologies are increasingly part of the solution, especially in rural and underserved areas, allowing consumers to receive the care they need, when and where they need it.

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Confirmed Participants and Presentations

  • Leonard M. Baynes, M.B.A., J.D., Dean and Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center
  • Nora Belcher, Executive Director, Texas e-Health Alliance
  • Henry Chung, M.D., Strategic Medical Advisor, Big White Wall, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Vice President of Care Management Organization (CMO), Montefiore Medical Center (Presentation - PDF, 2.4 MB)
  • The Honorable Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
  • The Honorable Garnet F. Coleman, Texas House of Representatives District 147 (D-Houston)
  • Timothy R. Elliott, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Texas A&M University College of Education, Executive Director, Texas A&M University Telehealth Counseling Clinic (Presentation - PDF, 1.5 MB)
  • Francisco Fernandez, M.D., Founding Dean, Vice-President for Medical Affairs, and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (Presentation - PDF, 4 MB)
  • Lex Frieden, M.A., LL.D. (hon), Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Biomedical Informatics, Senior Scientist and Director, Independent Living Research Utilization program, TIRR Memorial Hermann
  • Laura M. Galbreath, M.P.P., Director, SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions, National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Chris Gibbons, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Health Innovation Officer, Connect2HealthFCC Task Force, Federal Communications Commission
  • Travis Hanson, J.D., M.S., Executive Director, West Texas Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (WTxHITREC), Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (Presentation - PDF, 4 MB)
  • Bernard A. Harris Jr., M.D., M.B.A., M.M.S., Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner, Vesalius Ventures
  • Brian Henry, M.H.A., Director of Telehealth, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (Presentation - PDF, 250 KB)
  • Shing H. Lin, M.B.A., Director, Public Safety Technology Services, Harris County (Presentation - PDF, 1.8 MB)
  • Judi Manis, Regional Vice President—Business Development and Strategic Relations, Internet of Things—Healthcare, AT&T (Presentation - PDF, 1.4 MB)
  • Jessica L. Mantel, J.D., M.P.P., Assistant Professor of Law and Co-Director, University of Houston Law Center Health Law & Policy Institute
  • David E. Persse, M.D., Physician Director, Emergency Medical Services, City of Houston Fire Department Public Health Authority, City of Houston Department of Health & Human Services
  • Robert C. Robbins, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Texas Medical Center (Presentation - PDF, 3.9 MB)
  • Mari Robinson, J.D., Executive Director, Texas Medical Board
  • Susan Rushing, M.A., Chief Executive Officer, Burke (Presentation - PDF, 625 KB)
  • Ronald L. Scott, J.D., LL.M., Research Professor, University of Houston Law Center Health Law & Policy Institute
  • Yahya Shaikh, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Advisor for Connected Health, Connect2HealthFCC Task Force, Federal Communications Commission
  • Mickey Slimp, Ed.D., Executive Director, East Texas Interactive Healthcare Network, University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, Executive Director, Northeast Texas Consortium of Colleges & Universities (NETnet) (Presentation - PDF, 671 KB)
  • Sharon L. Strover, Ph.D., Philip G. Warner Regents Professor in Communication and Director, Technology and Information Policy Institute, University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication (Presentation - PDF, 2 MB)
  • Thomas Tsang, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Valera Health
  • Allison N. Winnike, J.D., Director of Research and Research Professor, University of Houston Law Center Health Law & Policy Institute
  • The Honorable John Zerwas, M.D., Texas House of Representatives District 89 (R-Katy)