Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse Members Biographies
Sheriff Bill Prummell
Chair Governor Appointee
Sheriff Bill Prummell is a 26-year veteran in law enforcement, who began his career with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office in 1992. He worked his way through the ranks and throughout most areas of the Agency. He was elected as Sheriff on August 14, 2012 and assumed the Office of Sheriff on January 8, 2013. He ran for re-election in 2016 winning both the primary and general elections.
Sheriff Prummell holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Leo University in Criminology with a minor in Psychology; a Master's Degree in Business Administration from IMPAC University; and a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from American Public University. In addition, he is a graduate of the Florida Sheriff's Institute, the National Sheriff's Institute, the 239th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, The Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar out of the University of Virginia, and Florida's Senior Leadership Program in Tallahassee, Florida.
Sheriff Prummell was one of the founders of the Region Six Intelligence Exchange for southwest Florida. He is on the Board of Directors for CARE, is Chair for Drug Free Charlotte County, a member of the Florida Sheriff's Association serving on their Legislative Committee, and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches. Sheriff Prummell was selected by the Florida Sheriff's Association as the State Task Force Chair. In 2015, he was appointed by the Governor to serve as a commissioner on the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission and sits as a member of the Officer Discipline Penalty Guidelines Task Force.
Despite all of this, Sheriff Prummell's greatest accomplishments are his family. He is married to Tara, a kindergarten teacher. They have two sons and a daughter - Billy, Catelynn, and Andrew - along with Billy's wife, Marla, and grandson Billy the IV.
Darryl Ervin Rouson
President of the Senate Appointee
Darryl Ervin Rouson has earned a reputation as a trailblazer in business and in the community. In 1981, he became the first African American prosecutor in Pinellas County. In 2003 he was appointed the first chairman of the newly formed Substance Abuse and Addictions Task Force for The National Bar Association. Sen. Rouson also served as president of the St. Petersburg NAACP from 2000 to 2005 and served on the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission in 2007. In April 2008, Mr. Rouson's years of activism, bold leadership and community service culminated in his being elected to represent Tampa Bay in the Florida House of Representatives. He served as a Representative for eight years and was termed out of office.
In 2016 he was elected State Senator for District 19 which includes portions of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He was reelected for a second term representing District 19 in 2020. Sen. Rouson has a passion for reforming the criminal justice system in Florida, increasing funding for substance use and mental health issues, and creating innovative solutions to transportation issues. Since Sen. Rouson began his tenure in the Florida Legislature, he has been regularly listed as one of Tampa Bay's most influential politicians. Sen. Rouson also served as a Commissioner on the Constitutional Revision Commission which meets every twenty years to propose changes to the Florida Constitution.
Mr. Rouson received a college degree in 1977 from Xavier University in New Orleans and graduated from law school at the University of Florida in 1980. He is married to Angela Rouson and is proudly raising five boys while practicing law in the Tampa Bay area with the Rubenstein Law Group.
President of the Senate Appointee
Deputy Superintendent Ray Gadd oversees Administration, Operations, Teaching and Learning, Student Support Services and the four learning communities. Mr. Gadd's previous experience with Pasco County Schools included Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Support Services, Assistant Superintendent for Employee Services and Planning, Assistant to the Superintendent for Special Projects, Student Services Supervisor and School Psychologist. For the three years prior to his current employment, he served as President and CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services.
Mr. Gadd's previous voluntary board involvement includes the Pasco Pediatric Foundation, Advisory Council Wachovia Banks of Pasco, University of South Florida Collaborative for Family and Children, Pasco Hernando Catholic Charities, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Florida Coalition for Children and Gulfside Hospice. He currently serves as Treasurer for Central Florida Behavioral Network and is a Board Member of Youth and Family Alternatives and the Angelus. He has also served on the Pasco Planning Commission and the Development Review Committee. Mr. Gadd was also instrumental in the original campaign in 2004 to pass the Penny for Pasco to fund schools.
Mr. Gadd has received the Lawrence D. Wasser Humanitarian Award (Jewish National Fund Tampa), Florida Coalition for Children Chairman's Award, Florida Association of School Psychologist Presidential Award, Pasco County District Supervisor of the Year Award and was recognized by the Parents for Quality Schools for leadership.
Mr. Gadd received his B.A. in Social and Behavioral Sciences and his M.A. in Behavioral Science from the University of South Florida. He is a licensed School Psychologist and certified by the National Association of School Psychologists. Mr. Gadd is married to Cathy Peckett and has a grown daughter, Casey, and two grandchildren.
Wesley Evans is the Statewide Coordinator of Integration and Recovery Services, for the Florida Department of Children and Families, office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Wes leads a statewide effort to transform Florida's behavioral healthcare system, using his lived and professional experience. This transformative approach shifts the systems culture and service delivery approach from an acute-care focused model to one that focuses on sustained wellness and recovery; a Recovery-Oriented System of Care (ROSC). He was among Florida's first class of Certified Recovery Peer Specialists in 2006. In 2008 he began work at a Community Treatment provider, expanding his experience to include, Specialty Courts, programs for individuals experiencing homelessness, Residential Treatment, Drop-in Centers, and Psychosocial services. Wes served as Co-Chair of Disability Rights Florida's Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness for two years, and as an Advisory Board member for Northeast Florida State Hospital for nine years. In 2014, he received an award from the Jacksonville Mayors Disability Council, in recognition of excellence exhibited by a person with a disability within the Jacksonville workforce. In 2014 Wes transitioned to work for one of Florida's Managing Entities, where he served in an advocacy role as Ombudsman. In 2019, Wes was awarded the state's Champion of Recovery Award, by the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Florida, for his outstanding efforts to promote recovery. He believes that all individuals have the capacity to recover from behavioral health conditions, and that self-direction, community inclusion, and multiple pathways play a critical role in one's own vision for their recovery. Wes prefers to take the extra step in staying unique in his approach to system-change and envisions a system of care in which recovery is expected and achieved through meaningful partnerships and shared decision making with individuals, families, communities, and systems.
President of the Senate
Mr. Leonardo joined Chrysalis Health with 24 years' experience in the behavioral health field with extensive expertise in operational and administrative leadership. Mr. Leonardo has served on a variety of Boards including The Florida Hospital Association's Behavioral Health Council, Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA), and the Florida Council for Community Mental Health. Mr. Leonardo has received numerous awards in the community, including Leader of the Year from FADAA.
Dr. Kathleen Moore
President of the Senate Appointee
Kathleen A. Moore, Ph.D. is a Research Professor in the Department of Mental Health, Law, and Policy of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) at the University of South Florida. She received her B.A. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and both her M.A. and Ph.D. in social/health psychology from Kent State University. She did her post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in which she worked on a NIMH-funded study assessing the effects of exercise vs. medication on clinically depressed older adults. For the past ten years, she has been at FMHI with a primary focus in the area of substance abuse and mental health. Currently, Dr. Moore is working on several community-based research projects with local substance abuse and mental health providers. Her emphasis has been on project evaluation, bridging the gap between research and practice, and social policy issues such as co-occurring disorders, homelessness, and jail diversion. Most recently, she is Co-PI on a National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant entitled Center on Co-occurring Disorders, Justice, and Multidisciplinary Research (CJM) along with Dr. Roger Peters, PI and Paul Stiles, Co-PI. The objective of the CJM Center is to enhance the effectiveness of interventions for offenders with CODs within the justice system by: (a) identifying promising intervention strategies, and (b) testing these interventions in theory-informed pilot studies. In coordination with Richard Dembo, Ph.D., she will lead CJM'S Research Team which will coordinate key research activities, including review of pilot projects. The Center will fund three new faculty members in order to conduct significant and innovative research within the area of co-occurring disorders and criminal justice.
Currently, she is Principal Investigator on three grants: (1) Family Dependency Treatment Court,a collaboration involving Hillsborough County Family Dependency Treatment Court (FDTC), a community substance abuse treatment agency, and FMHI. She oversees the coordination of client outcome and process evaluation for an intensive outpatient treatment program utilizing two evidence-based programs (Nurturing Parents and TRIAD) for substance-abusing parents who are involved in the child welfare system; (2) Adult Drug Court Women Empowered and Coping with Addiction to Narcotics (WeCan!), a partnership between Pinellas County Adult Drug Court, two local substance abuse agencies, and FMHI. Dr. Moore coordinates the client outcome and process evaluation for an outpatient treatment program that is providing cognitive-behavioral therapy/motivational enhancement therapy (CBT/MET) to female offenders involved in drug court whose primary drug of choice is prescription drug use; and (3) Medication-Assisted Treatment Drug Treatment Program (MATDTP), a collaboration involving Hillsborough County Adult Drug Court, a behavioral health treatment agency (DACCO), and FMHI. Dr. Moore coordinates the client outcome and process evaluation for this outpatient and residential treatment program that is providing several evidence-based models including Global Assessment of Individualized Needs, medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, and the Matrix Model. She also serves as the Co-PI and Evaluator on three other SAMHSA-funded grants: (1) Hillsborough Assertive Community Treatment, a five-year project assessing an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) approach for homeless individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness; (2) Hillsborough County Jail Diversion, a three-year grant assessing a forensic intensive case management (FICM) approach for adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders diverted from jail into treatment; and (3) Charlotte County Home 2 Recovery, a five-year initiative providing integrated services for homeless adults with severe mental illness using an ACT model.
Secretary Shevaun Harris
Florida Department of Children and Families
Shevaun Harris joined the Department of Children and Families as the Secretary in February 2021 after a nearly two decade career at the Agency for Health Care Administration.
Prior to joining DCF, Secretary Harris served as Acting Secretary at the Agency for Health Care Administration, where she was responsible for administering the Florida Medicaid program and regulating over 40,000 licensed health care facilities in the state. She also led the Agency's COVID-19 efforts in partnership with other state agencies and essential health care providers. Secretary Harris has held positions in the health and human services field, providing services to children and adults diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and children receiving services in an inpatient psychiatric program. During her tenure at the AHCA, Secretary Harris led the development of all Medicaid policies and implementation of the agency’s quality improvement initiatives with particular focus on perinatal and behavioral health outcomes.
Secretary Harris is an innovator, spearheading the development of the State’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation program. She has led several major implementations and served as the lead negotiator for multi-billion-dollar contracts under the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program.
Joining DCF in early 2021, Secretary Harris has made holistic care for families a priority by strategically working to integrate systems and services. In September 2021, she joined First Lady Casey DeSantis in launching Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, a personalized approach to helping families overcome barriers to self-sufficiency through community collaboration. Secretary Harris continues to drive innovative prevention and early intervention efforts through the work of the Department and community partners.
She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in social work from the Florida State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Quinnipiac University.
Secretary Simone Marstiller
Florida Agency for Health Care Administration
Simone Marstiller is the Secretary Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Prior to being appointed Secretary, Simone was Counsel with Gunster, Yoakley, Stewart, P.A., in the firm's Tallahassee and Tampa offices, where her practice areas included appellate consulting and litigation, government affairs, procurement, and ethics and elections. She joined Gunster in 2017 after retiring from the First District Court of Appeal, where she served as a judge for six years. In 2001, Simone served as Assistant General Counsel to Governor Jeb Bush. In that position, she assisted the Governor's General Counsel in overseeing the legal operations of the Governor's agencies and advising the Governor on a wide variety of legal and policy issues. In 2002 she served as General Counsel for the Department of Management Services (DMS). There, she managed all legal affairs for the agency. While serving in this capacity, Governor Bush appointed her Interim Secretary of the agency. Simone returned to the Governor's Office in 2003 to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff. In 2004, Governor Bush appointed her State Chief Information Officer to head state government's central technology planning and policy organization, and in 2005 she became Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. In 2007, Attorney General Bill McCollum appointed Simone Associate Deputy Attorney General for the State of Florida. In addition to serving on the executive management team for the Office of the Attorney General, she was the agency's General Counsel. When appointed to the appellate court in 2010, Simone was serving as Executive Director for the Florida Elections Commission. Simone was born in Monrovia, Liberia, and grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1988 from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, in 1996 from Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida.
Dr. Jay Reeve
Jay Reeve, PhD, has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Apalachee Center, in Tallahassee, Florida, since 2008. Apalachee Center is a not-for-profit behavioral health center operating 12 outpatient clinics, three acute behavioral healthcare inpatient units, two primary care clinics, and six residential programs across the eight counties of Florida's Big Bend region, and manages the Behavioral Health Center at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. Apalachee Center employs over 500 staff, sees about 8000 clients annually, and has an annual budget of about 34 million dollars. Dr. Reeve also chairs the Mental Health Council of the Big Bend. Dr. Reeve received undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees from Tufts, Harvard, and Adelphi Universities. He has been licensed as a clinical psychologist in Delaware, Florida, New York, and Rhode Island. Dr. Reeve has held a variety of academic appointments, including teaching faculty positions at Brown University Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior; the University of Albany; Albany Medical College; Widener University; Immaculata College; the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology; the University of Hartford, and currently holds a courtesy appointment at the at Florida State University Medical College. He has published psychology research papers, especially on the treatment of children, in national peer-reviewed journals.
In 2014, Dr. Reeve was made a Fellow of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, “in recognition of his unique and significant contributions to the Council”. In 2010, Dr. Reeve was awarded the Visionary Leadership award by the National Council for Community Behavioral Health. He was the first Florida mental health provider to win the Big Bend Mental Health Coalition's Walk The Walk award, in 2008. In 2005, he was the first non-physician to receive the Brown Medical School's Outstanding Teaching Award in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Clara Reynolds is the President and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay (Crisis Center). For more than forty years, the Crisis Center has been providing services to individuals and families who suffer distress from serious life crisis. Mrs. Reynolds leads a staff of over 220 employees and over 100 volunteers who responds to over 160,000 requests for help every year. Crisis services are provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Crisis Center is a community leader in the implementation of Trauma Informed Care both in service delivery and in organizational culture. As an integral component of Hillsborough County's system of care, the agency provides a wide range of programs/services. The services of the Crisis Center are based on successful national, evidence-based models or certified programs.
Mrs. Reynolds is also the co-founder and former executive director for Success 4 Kids & Families, a non-profit corporation that embraces system of care values and principles to provide children and their families with a comprehensive array of services. Additionally, she was the Project Manager for the Multiagency Network for Severely Emotionally Disturbed Children/Youth (SEDNET) for Hillsborough County Public Schools. She was a school social worker from 1995 97 for the Youth Services Program of the Hillsborough County Public Schools and has worked as a Child Protective Investigation intern for the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services in the State of Florida.
Dr. Kelly Gray-Eurom, M.D.
Kelly Gray-Eurom, M.D., M.M.M., FACEP, is assistant dean for quality and safety at the University of Florida College of Medicine - Jacksonville and chief quality officer for UF Health Jacksonville. In addition, she is a professor and director of business operations for the department of emergency medicine.
Gray-Eurom is board-certified in emergency medicine. She received her medical degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and earned a Master of Medical Management degree from Tulane University. She completed her internship and residency in emergency medicine at the UF College of Medicine - Jacksonville in 1996, and joined UF as a faculty physician upon completion. She was promoted to associate professor and associate chair in 2008, was named CQO in 2014 and promoted to the rank of professor in 2015.
She is past-president of the Florida College of Emergency Physicians and past-president of the UFCOMJ Faculty Council, and was selected for the Fellows Program for America's Essential Hospitals in 2017.
Chief Judge Mark Mahon
Chief Judge Mark Mahon is a native of Jacksonville and a third generation attorney. He graduated from Florida State University in 1978 with a degree in business and from Florida State University law school in 1981. Mahon worked as an Assistant State Attorney from 1981-1984 when he joined the private practice of law with his father Lacy Mahon, Jr. He subsequently practiced law with his father and they were joined in private practice by Russell Healey in approximately 1987. While in private practice, Mahon was named to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and served as chair for two years. He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000. In 2007, Mahon left the private practice of law and the legislature after being appointed Circuit Court Judge by Governor Charlie Crist. Judge Mahon was elected to serve as Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit beginning in January 2015.
Larry Rein is currently the CEO and President for ChildNet. He has been the Executive Director of ChildNet Palm Beach County since 2012 and has been with ChildNet since its inception in 2002, when he was named Vice President of Network Development. Larry is a pioneer in Community-Based Care and his expertise and passion lies in effectively engaging and leading the right community partners in the design and execution of effective and comprehensive local service networks. His significant contributions include the crafting of the first Local Interagency Agreement between ChildNet and the Department of Juvenile Justice, which marked the beginning of system enhancements to better serve dually involved youth. Consistent with ChildNet's guiding principle to strengthen and preserve families whenever possible, through Larry's advocacy efforts, ChildNet forged a groundbreaking agreement with the Children's Services Council of Broward County resulting in more than $8 million in funding for prevention and diversion services. He has also engaged existing child welfare service providers and attracted new ones to substantially expand local service capacity, in particular, significantly increasing the local inventory of foster homes, group homes and relative caregivers and developing new behavioral health and family strengthening programs that seek to either prevent unnecessary removals or facilitate more timely and stable reunifications for families where there has already been a removal.
Larry is an active and engaged member and chair of several local child advocacy and behavioral health boards and committees. He serves as the Chair of the Palm Beach County Circuit 15 Local Interagency Review Team and has been elected Board Secretary and Audit Committee Chair for the Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network, the local managing entity for substance abuse and mental health. Larry is the Chair of the Screening and Assessment for Family Engagement, Retention, and Recovery (SAFERR) Committee, as well as a member of Circuit 15's Crossover Committee and the Palm Beach County Community Alliance. Larry has also served as the Chair of the Florida Coalition for Children/Florida Department of Children & Families Crossover Youth Workgroup and as a member of the Youth Symposium Program Evaluation Workgroup and the Advisory Board for the Children's Services Administration of Broward County. Larry has been recognized for his work in the community with awards that include Children's Consortium 2002 Heart Award for Exemplary Service and the Mental Health Association of Broward County's 2000 Exceptional People Impacting the Community (EPIC) Award. Larry received his Bachelor's Degree from Columbia University and his Master of Science Degree in School Psychology from St. John's University.
Rep. Christine Hunschofsky
Speaker of the House Appointee
Hunschofsky grew up in Boston, and graduated from Boston University with a focus on Business Administration and Philosophy. After Moving to Parkland, Hunschofsky became involved with the community. She was a member of the Parkland Education Advisory Board for 7 years, wrote for Parkland Life Magazine, and was involved with the Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church. She was elected City Commissioner in 2012 with 84 percent of the vote, and in 2016 ran for Mayor of Parkland and won with 76 percent of the vote.
In 2020 she ran for Kristin Jacobs' vacated Florida House District 96 seat, receiving an endorsement from 2020 Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, as well as local officials such as Florida Senator Kevin Rader and Representatives Dan Daley, Michael Gottlieb, and Tina Polsky, in addition to many other Florida politicians, including many mayors. She also received an endorsement from Fred Guttenberg, the father of one of the Parkland Shooting victims, who praised Hunschofsky for being "truly there for our community" and working "tirelessly to guide our city through its darkest days." She won the primary election with 72.2% of the vote to her opponent Saima Farooqui's 20.7%, who also ran against Kristin Jacobs in 2018. Hunschofsky faces no Republican opponent in the general election.
Speaker of the House Appointee
Pensacola, Fla. (July 22, 2019) - Lakeview Center, an affiliate of Baptist Health Care, is pleased to announce a new role for Shawn Salamida previous president of FamiliesFirst Network. Salamida recently transitioned to the role of president of the Behavioral Health division.
In his new role, Salamida is responsible for inpatient, outpatient, day treatment, case management, residential, and specialty service lines which treat more than 36,000 people each year, primarily in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Some services also are available in Okaloosa and Dade counties. He is responsible for a budget of more than $85 million dollars.
For approximately 30 years Salamida has helped children and families throughout the state of Florida for which he has received accolades for his innovative approaches. For instance, in 2015 the Florida Coalition for Children presented Shawn with the Champion for Children award, and in 2014 he was awarded the Executive Leadership Award by the Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families for “unwavering support, partnership and advocacy. In 2019 Shawn was awarded the Advocate of the Year PACE Award by the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce for seizing every opportunity to help mistreated children who have been removed from their homes.”He holds a master's degree in mental health counseling from Rollins College, and a bachelor's degree in mental health and human services from Franciscan University.
Speaker of the House Appointee
Since 2012 Ann Berner has been the CEO for Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network, Inc., the managing entity for Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St Lucie Counties under the Department of Children & Families. She is responsible for overseeing $80 million budget annually for publicly funded substance use and mental health services. Ann is a long-time resident of the Treasure Coast and a graduate of the University of Central Florida. With over 20 years' experience with DCF in various leadership positions, she developed substantial experience working with law enforcement, mental health, substance abuse, foster care, adult protective services, and cross-systems collaboration. She has a deep knowledge of the history of mental health services in the State of Florida and is well-versed in the financial and budgetary matters involved on both the private and public sides at the local, state, and federal levels.
Speaker of the House Appointee
Melissa Larkin-Skinner, regional CEO in Florida, has been named to the Direct Support Organization for the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking by Florida House Speaker Jose R. Oliva. A licensed mental health counselor with 25 years of experience in mental health and addiction prevention and treatment, Melissa has worked with children and adults of all ages in diverse programs including inpatient, outpatient, crisis intervention, intensive community-based and child welfare. She has designed and operated innovative programs to meet community needs, including the first children's Community Action Treatment (CAT) team in 2004. CAT has been adopted as Florida's statewide model serving youth who are struggling with severe mental health, behavioral and co-occurring disorders, along with their families.
Melissa regularly provides state and federal policy feedback and engages in legislative advocacy as a mental health and addiction subject-matter expert in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. She has led Centerstone in the rapid expansion of treatment services for individuals fighting opioid addiction, including Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in hospital, clinic and jail-based sites. She currently serves as the only behavioral health provider on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission.
Her appointment is effective immediately and expires October 24, 2021.
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of trafficking around the world. Domestically, Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of calls to the national Human Trafficking Hotline.
Dr. Uma Suryadevara
Speaker of the House Appointee
Dr. Suryadevara is an Associate Professor at the University of Florida and serves as the Associate Chief for Hospital Based Services at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center psychiatry department. In addition, she is also the Program Director for the geriatric psychiatry fellowship program at UF. Her special interest and expertise in Alzheimer’s patients led her to being a member of the Ed and Ethel Moore’s research advisory board at the Florida department of Health. She also works part time with the UF Neurology clinic taking care of patients with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.
Subsequent to completing psychiatry residency at Michigan State University (currently Western Michigan University) and a geriatric psychiatry fellowship at Stanford University, California, Dr. Suryadevara joined University of Florida as an Assistant Professor in August 2011. Since then, she has been actively involved in the education and training of residents, fellows, medical students and various other learners. Her passion for geriatric psychiatry coupled with the leadership skills helped her develop the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program at UF. Her enthusiasm as an educator has been recognized through multiple faculty teaching awards.
Dr. Suryadevara is a strong advocate for her profession and is involved in various organizations nationally and regionally. She is the Vice President for the Florida Psychiatric Society. Nationally she achieved Distinguished Fellow status with the American Psychiatric Association for her work in the field. She trains and nurtures the next generation of leaders in our field. Dr. Suryadevara is also a board member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology where she writes questions for the national board certification exams.
Judge Ronald Ficarrotta
The honorable Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta serves in Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County.
Judge Ficarrotta is a Tampa native and began his career as an assistant state attorney in Hillsborough County. He was appointed to the County Court bench in 1994 by Governor Lawton Chiles. Then re-elected without opposition in 1998.
In 1999, Judge Ficarrotta was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush to the Circuit Court. He was elected without opposition in 2000, 2006 and 2012.
In November 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta to the Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
The Commission was created by the Florida Legislature earlier this year to study the mental health and substance abuse services currently available in the state and to look at ways to improve them. During his time as chief judge for the 13 th Judicial Circuit, Ficarrotta helped set up the Mental Health Court in 2017. Two years later, he started Florida’s first Juvenile Mental Health Court.