Paul Gionfriddo Named President and CEO of Mental Health America

Paul Gionfriddo, an experienced nonprofit leader and former state legislator and mayor, has been named the new President and CEO of Mental Health America by the organization’s board of directors. Gionfriddo was selected following an extensive national search.

“We are delighted to have Paul assume leadership of Mental Health America,” said Ann Boughtin, Board Chair. “A long-time advocate in the mental health field and an experienced nonprofit executive, he is an ideal choice to carry forward the organization’s historic and leading role in advancing the health and well-being of Americans.”

Gionfriddo said: “For more than a century, Mental Health America has been our nation’s leading advocate for mental health—working for prevention, early intervention, sound treatment, and recovery.  I look forward to carrying on this work with affiliates across the country at a time of growing need and often-diminishing investments in mental health.”

Gionfriddo has held key health and public health-related leadership positions during a career spanning more than 30 years. In addition to leading nonprofit organizations in three states, he ran his own consulting business, specializing in public health, children’s health, primary care and mental health.

From 1978 through 1991, he served as a full-time elected official, with eleven years in the Connecticut State Legislature, and two years as Mayor of Middletown, Connecticut.

In 2013, he was appointed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to a four-year term on the 12-member National Advisory Council to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services.

Gionfriddo, who lives in Lake Worth, Florida, is currently a consultant, speaker, and writer, and author of Our Health Policy Matters, a popular weekly health policy blog.  His essay, entitled “How I Helped Create a Flawed Mental Health System That’s Failed Millions – And My Son,” which was published in the September, 2012, issue of Health Affairs as a “narrative matters” essay, was the most widely-read journal article that month. It was also adapted as an opinion article in The Washington Post.

At the national level, Gionfriddo has worked extensively with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on health services research dissemination to state and local policy leaders, helping to develop workshops and programs on long term care, prevention and public health, child health, minority health, and urban health, and was a member of the faculty of the Applied Statistics Training Institute of the National Center for Health Statistics.  He also worked on health policy projects with the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, the National Governors Association, and National Conference of State Legislatures.

During the 1990s, Gionfriddo was a member of the adjunct faculties of both Wesleyan University and Trinity College, where he taught graduate-level courses on health care and public health policy. He received his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.

Mental Health America (, founded in 1909, is the nation’s leading community-based network dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. With our 228 affiliates across the country, we touch the lives of millions—Advocating for changes in mental health and wellness policy; Educating the public & providing critical information; and Delivering urgently needed mental health and wellness Programs and Services.

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