Speakers: April 19, 2021

The first day of CONVENE will focus on mental health including identifying barriers and solutions for equity in care.

Tom Insel

Thomas Insel, MD

Co-Founder - Humanest Care


Thomas R. lnsel, M.D., a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, has been a national leader in mental health research, policy, and technology.  From 2002-2015, Dr. Insel served as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). More recently (2015 – 2017), he led the Mental Health Team at Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) in South San Francisco, CA.  In 2017 he co-founded Mindstrong Health, a Silicon Valley start-up building tools for people with serious mental illness.  In 2020, he co-founded Humanest Care, a therapeutic online community for recovery.   Since May of 2019, he has been a special advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom and Chair of the Board of the Steinberg Institute in Sacramento, California. Dr. Insel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received numerous national and international awards including honorary degrees in the U.S. and Europe.

Tanzeem Choudhury

Tanzeem Choudhury, PhD

Professor of Computing and Information Sciences, Roger and Joelle Burnell Chair in Integrated Health and Technology - Cornell Tech


Tanzeem Choudhury is a Professor of Computing and Information Sciences at Cornell Tech where she holds the Roger and Joelle Burnell Chair in Integrated Health and Technology and a co-founder of HealthRhythms Inc, a company whose mission is to add the layer of behavioral health into all of healthcare. At Cornell, she directs the People-Aware Computing group, which is inventing the future of technology-assisted well-being. The group's innovations in sensing to intervention is helping transform healthcare from a reactive to proactive system. Tanzeem received her PhD from the Media Laboratory at MIT and her undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Rochester. She has been awarded the MIT Technology Review TR35 award, NSF CAREER award, TED Fellowship, Kavli Fellowship, ACM Distinguished Membership, and Ubiquitous Computing 10-year Impact Award.

Valerie Hoffman

Valerie Hoffman, PhD

Head of Research - Meru Health


Valerie Hoffman is the Head of Research with Meru Health. She received her MPH from Yale University and doctorate in psychiatric epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has over 20 years of experience in designing studies, analyzing findings, and reporting results in over 80 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Hoffman has been the Principal Investigator of NIH, VA, SAMHSA, AHRQ, DoD, and CDC-funded studies, holds an adjunct professorship at the University of Iowa, and currently is conducting two randomized controlled trials to test the efficacy of the Meru Health Program.

Marvin Seppala

Marvin Seppala, MD

Chief Medical Officer - Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation


Marvin D. Seppala, M.D., is the chief medical officer of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and a national expert on addiction treatment and the integration of evidence-based practices. A psychiatrist, he oversees all interdisciplinary clinical practices and standards of care at Hazelden Betty Ford. Dr. Seppala also serves as adjunct Assistant Professor at both the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in the department of psychiatry and the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. He is responsible for Hazelden Betty Ford’s Comprehensive Opioid Response with the Twelve Steps (COR-12), an innovative effort launched in 2012 to integrate medication-assisted treatment with clinical therapies and Twelve Step-based and other peer support to treat opioid use disorder in a specialized addiction treatment setting—work that is influencing other providers nationally. The author of several books on addiction treatment, opioids and pain, Dr. Seppala served as a board member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine for several years.

A person in long-term recovery himself since age 19, Dr. Seppala brings both the latest science and the wisdom of lived experience to his clinical work and national thought leadership. He is a graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and obtained his M.D. at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minn., serving his residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in addiction at University of Minnesota Hospitals in Minneapolis. His background also includes past work with the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest in Portland, past service as a member of the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs under Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, and current service on the boards of Central City Concern (which helps people struggling with both homelessness and substance use disorders) and the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative. His research includes a six-month outcome study of COR-12 that was published in September 2019 in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and an exciting five-year collaboration launched in 2019 with Mayo Clinic to search for pharmaco-omic markers of response to the drug acamprosate, which has been shown to help people with alcohol use disorder stay sober.

Dr. Seppala has testified before Congress, spoken to audiences across the country, and appeared as a guest on CBS's The Early Show, CNN, and National Public Radio, among many other broadcast news outlets. He also has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal.

Rahul Khanna

Rahul Khanna, PhD

Director, Innovation & Medical Governance - Phoenix Australia

Panel Moderator

Dr. Rahul Khanna is a practicing psychiatrist, researcher and academic entrepreneur based in Melbourne, Australia. His experience spans public and private sector clinical work with a focus on psychological trauma, specifically in veterans and first responders. His academic research has been centered on emerging technologies and medical education and he has led times in the clinical, start-up & non-profit organizations. In addition to several clinical qualifications, Dr. Khanna has formal training in machine learning, leadership, philosophy, and entrepreneurship. 

Dr. Khanna serves as the Director of Innovation & Medical Governance at Phoenix Australia, a non-profit, learning organization dedicated to helping individuals and communities understand, prevent, and recover from trauma, where he works to foster innovative approaches to service delivery and operational efficiency.