MARK J. COVALL
Mark J. Covall is president and CEO of The National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH). Founded in 1933, NABH advocates for behavioral health and represents provider systems that are committed to the delivery of responsive, accountable, and clinically effective prevention, treatment, and care for children, adolescents, adults, and older adults with mental and substance use disorders. Its members are behavioral healthcare provider organizations, including more than 800 specialty psychiatric hospitals, general hospital psychiatric and addiction treatment units, residential treatment centers, youth services organizations, and other providers of care. In this role, Mr. Covall oversees policy for the association. He is an expert in Medicare/Medicaid issues and has founded and helped to lead a wide variety of coalitions working to improve the lives of individuals with mental and addictive disorders. He has played a central role in advocacy successes on issues such as parity, the Medicare inpatient psychiatric prospective payment system, and healthcare reform, among others. Prior to becoming NABH president/CEO, Mr. Covall served as the executive director of the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association (now known as the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness)—an association representing the nation’s leading managed behavioral healthcare companies. Mr. Covall also served for nine years as the director of government relations for NABH. Mr. Covall has worked on Capitol Hill for the House Aging Committee’s Health and Long-Term Care Subcommittee. Overall, Mr. Covall has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare policy.
Shawn Coughlin is the executive vice president for government relations and public policy of The National Association for Behavioral Health (NABH). In this role, he oversees the association’s advocacy work on Capitol Hill and helps to set and implement strategic policy goals that support high-quality care for Americans who live with mental and substance use disorders. Mr. Coughlin brings more than 20 years of advocacy experience to the association. During his more than 14 years with Capitol Health Group (as owner, principal, and chief operating officer), Mr. Coughlin was part of a team (that included the late Mike Bromberg) that served as advocacy consultant to NABH on behavioral health policy. Mr. Coughlin worked for several years on Capitol Hill, handling various healthcare policy needs for several Members of the Ways and Means Committee. He also was a professional staff member on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. Mr. Coughlin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lafayette College in 1987 and a Masters in Public Management from the University of Maryland in 1990.
Jessica Zigmond is the director of communications at The National Association for Behavioral Health (NABH). In this role, she leads efforts to communicate the vital role that behavioral health plays in helping Americans achieve overall health. She also oversees all internal communications with NABH-member organizations, who provide mental health and substance use treatment nationwide. Ms. Zigmond brings to the association a distinguished career as a journalist and public relations executive. Prior to joining NABH, she was the vice president, group manager for Ketchum. There she served as project manager for a federal government account overseeing communications about clinical quality standards and value-based incentives to the nation’s healthcare providers. Previously, she served as the Washington bureau chief for Modern Healthcare magazine, overseeing coverage of federal health legislation, regulatory changes, and healthcare industry trends. As a public health reporter with the magazine, she reported on a wide range of public-health issues, including rural suicide, the uninsured population, and national emergencies. Her career also included positions with Hager Sharp, Reuters America, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Ms. Zigmond has a master of science in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor of arts in political science from Saint Mary’s College.
Scott Dziengelski is the director of policy and regulatory affairs for The National Association for Behavioral Health (NABH). In this role, he develops and advocates NABH’ positions before federal agencies to positively effect federal regulations, statutes, and other governmental directives that affect behavioral health systems. He also works to develop policies and programs that promote quality behavioral health services. He is the former legislative director for Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA). Mr. Dziengelski was instrumental in helping to build broad bipartisan support for Rep. Murphy's Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which led to important reforms now incorporated into the 21st Century Cures law. Mr. Dziengelski is the recipient of the “Friend of Children’s Mental Health Award” from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry as well as the “Medal of Merit” from the United States Capitol Police. He has a bachelor of science in public policy and American government from American University.
SARAH A. WATTENBERG
Sarah A. Wattenberg is the director of quality and addiction services for The National Association for Behavioral Health (NABH). In this role, she oversees the association’s interests, positions, and actions related to behavioral healthcare quality and addiction services. Since February 2015, Ms. Wattenberg worked as senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Policy. In that role, she served on the president’s parity task force, where she provided scientific, technical, and policy consultation on improving implementation of substance use and mental health insurance parity, including guidance on medication assisted treatment. She has spent nearly two decades working in the federal government, advising high-level executive branch officials about emerging issues, challenges, and policy opportunities related to opioids and other drugs, evidence-based practices, service delivery arrangements, public and commercial financing and parity, privacy, and treatment quality. Ms. Wattenberg also brings considerable clinical experience to her new role. She spent 11 years working in community-based programs for the seriously mentally ill in Montgomery County, Md. As a program director and clinical supervisor, she ran one of the country’s first community alternatives to inpatient hospitalization. She also opened a mental health clinic, served as a liaison to law enforcement, homeless shelters and county and state agencies, and supported developing Maryland’s “crisis” regulations. Directly before entering government services, Ms. Wattenberg was the senior director for clinical policy development at one of the nation’s largest managed behavioral healthcare companies. Ms. Wattenberg has a master’s degree in social work from Catholic University of America and earned her bachelor’s degree at New York University.
JULIA E. RICHARDSON
Julia E. Richardson is the director of advocacy and senior counsel at The National Association for Behavioral Health (NABH). In this role, she is responsible for developing strategies that increase the visibility of and action on NABH advocacy priorities and initiatives. She works to expand the NABH advocacy network, enhance capacity for advocacy, and facilitate effective collaborations with NABH members. Ms. Richardson also manages the NABH PAC activities. She brings to NABH experience at both the federal and state level with policy analysis, legislative strategy, campaign finance, and election law. Ms. Richardson has a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Florida Bar. Prior to joining NABH, she served as director of the Office of Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. She previously served as senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules & Administration, chaired by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). Prior to her work in the Senate, she served as counsel to the commission chair and vice chair at the Federal Election Commission (FEC). She also served as a legislative assistant/director and district office coordinator in the Florida House of Representatives.
Maria Merlie is the director of operations for The National Association for Behavioral Health (NABH). In this role, she is responsible for a wide variety of member services, including the NABH Annual Meeting, the association’s Web site (www.NABH.org), and other major activities (including retention/recruitment of members, elections, and administration). She also serves as the staff liaison to the NABH Board of Trustees and is responsible for managing sponsorship opportunities available to those who serve the behavioral health industry. She is a graduate of the Katharine Gibbs Business School.
KATHLEEN McCANN, R.N., Ph.D.
Kathleen McCann, R.N., Ph.D., is The National Association for Behavioral Health (NABH) liaison on quality initiatives. As a clinical leader within NABH for more than 20 years, Dr. McCann serves as a key contact for both members and policy leaders on a wide range of quality, clinical, and accreditation issues affecting treatment for individuals of all ages who are experiencing psychiatric and substance use disorders. She helps the association enhance its focus on quality by building strategic partnerships in support of this critical area. During her career as a registered nurse, Dr. McCann has practiced in both medical/surgical and psychiatric clinical settings. Dr. McCann received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Joseph College, in Emmitsburg, MD, and both master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing, with special emphasis in psychiatric nursing, from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. She received the “Excellence in Leadership Award” from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.
Caroline Scott is the government relations and operations coordinator. She is responsible for supporting the association's activities, including government relations, quality and regulatory affairs, membership engagement, and operations. Prior to joining NABH, Caroline worked with the Investment Company Institute, where she served as the meetings and conference coordinator. She is a graduate of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and received a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.
Last updated: 3/1/18