The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts, (NAMI Massachusetts), one of the state’s leading voices on mental illness, has selected Deborah Shields as the organization’s new Executive Director. Deborah begins in the role on June 10th.
“Deborah Shields’ track record demonstrates skills and experience across the entire range of challenges that NAMI Mass faces as an organization today: strategic leadership, team and capacity building, outreach, education, advocacy, financial management and fundraising,” said NAMI Mass Board President, Kathleen Considine. “We believe Deborah’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity is deep, and that her strong record of outreach to marginalized and minority communities make her well equipped to move NAMI Mass forward on these issues.”
Deborah has both a JD and an MPH and spent many years working as an attorney and advocate for social justice and public health organizations especially those serving people confronting stigma, discrimination, and health disparities. She began her career as an attorney at Harvard Law School’s AIDS Law Clinic and has spent over twenty years advocating for people living with HIV/AIDS, substance use disorders, mental health diagnoses, and cancer both in Massachusetts and Maine. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of New England’s School of Public Health.
Deborah brings many years’ experience as a family member, caregiver, and advocate for people dealing with mental health diagnoses. She greatly looks forward to working together to enhance education, advocacy, and support for people diagnosed with mental health conditions, families, partners and friends.