Steering Committee


Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago

Julie Carbray holds her PhD and Master of Science degrees from Rush University, Chicago and her Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. A clinical professor of psychiatry and nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), she has been on faculty at UIC since 1993. As the Administrative Director of the Pediatric Mood Disorder Program, Dr. Carbray manages the clinical programs and multidisciplinary training for the clinic and is a clinical expert in the area of children and adolescents with mood disorders within the UIC Depression and Resilience Center.

As a clinician, Dr. Carbray has a national reputation of excellence in serving families of children with mood disorders and was recognized by the UIC community in 2008 by receiving the Karen Gousman Excellence in Nursing Award and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s (APNA) Best Practices in Outpatient Mental Health Nursing Award. In 2012, Dr. Carbray was awarded the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Inspire Award for her longstanding commitment to UIC values and her inspiration of others in her work. With a particular focus on helping families to help their children with mood disorders, Dr. Carbray is engaged in programs of research that are investigating the psychopharmacology of mood disorders, neurobiology of mood disorders and neurobiologically informed treatments, and family response to childhood mood disorders.

Dr. Carbray has also been a liaison with the Chicago Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team, which trains officers about interacting with children with mental illness. Dr. Carbray is an internationally recognized speaker and clinical expert on therapeutic work with children and adolescents with mood disorders and has co-authored scientific papers and chapters in this area of expertise. Dr. Carbray is a leader in the field of advanced practice psychiatric nursing, chairs the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute and the APNA Child and Adolescent Council, and serves on the Illinois APNA Board of Directors.

Craig Chepke, MD, FAPA
Medical Director, Excel Psychiatric Associates; Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University; Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Atrium Health, Huntersville, North Carolina

Dr. Chepke is a Board-Certified psychiatrist and a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He attended NYU School of Medicine and completed his residency training at Duke University. Dr. Chepke is the medical director of Excel Psychiatric Associates in Huntersville, North Carolina, as well as a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry for Atrium Health. Dr. Chepke has special interests in serious mental illness, movement disorders, ADHD, and sleep medicine. He employs a person-centered care model to tailor treatments to each individual's needs, balancing pharmacotherapy with psychotherapeutic and physical health and wellness interventions. He is a member of the Huntington Study Group and serves on the board of directors for the CURESZ Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with schizophrenia.

Rakesh Jain, MD, MPH
Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Midland, Texas

Dr. Rakesh Jain attended medical school at the University of Calcutta in India and attended graduate school at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, where he was awarded the National Institute/CDC Competitive Traineeship. He graduated from the School of Public Health in 1987 with a master of public health (MPH) degree. After graduate school, he was a postdoctoral fellow in research psychiatry, under the Gerontology Center of the University of Texas Mental Sciences Institute in Houston, where he received a national research service award for the support of the postdoctoral fellowship. After this, he served a three-year residency in psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and two years of child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship.

Dr. Jain is currently involved in multiple research projects studying the effects of medications on short-term and long-term treatment of depression, anxiety, pain/mood overlap disorders, and psychosis in adult and child/adolescent populations. He is also the author of several articles on the issue of mood and pain conditions. He was recently named Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, Gulf Coast Chapter, in recognition of community and peer education and championing of mental health issues.

Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC
Adjunct Clinical Affiliate, University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing; Private Practice, Austin, Texas

Dr. Saundra Jain is executive director of the Mental Aerobics Project, focused on wellness and the impact of positive psychology on client outcomes. Dr. Jain provides workshops to healthcare practitioners, organizations, businesses, and individuals interested in learning more about the power of wellness. In 1992, she launched a private practice of psychotherapy, where she currently provides services for a wide range of mental health issues.

Dr. Jain is very active in the area of peer-to-peer education, especially in the disease-states of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and ADHD. Another strong clinical and educational interest involves differential diagnosis of major psychiatric disorders. She is the co-creator and co-presenter of a novel and well-received interactive workshop/program addressing the challenges of dealing with psychiatric comorbidities through the use of psychiatric scales and screeners. This program reached a national audience, and according to many attendees changed the way they practice medicine. She has been instrumental in developing several other innovative tools/programs to fill current gaps in this area. She is the co-creator and co-presenter featured on an interactive DVD titled "Differentiating Bipolar Depression from Unipolar Depression." Recently, Dr. Jain served as the co-host of "Depression in Relationships," a medical education program broadcast in 20 major cities in the United States on several major television networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX) and the Voice of America national news and talk radio system. She is also senior co-author of two well-received books that were written for clients: Unleashed: Transforming My Battle With Depression and Unleashed: 12 Weeks to Total Mental Fitness, both directed toward the needs of patients struggling with mental health issues.

She obtained her master's degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a doctoral degree from Southern California University for Professional Studies. She demonstrated her professional versatility by obtaining an MBA from Texas Woman’s University. She is a licensed professional counselor and a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She has extensive clinical training in multiple sites, covering the gamut of childhood, adolescent, and adult experiences in the private and public sectors. She was selected for a postgraduate clinical fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, where she trained in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Carmen Kosicek, MSN, APNP, PMHNP-BC
CEO, Founder, and Provider, Alay Health Team, Tucson, Arizona

Although she first started in nuclear medicine, Carmen returned to school with a focus in nursing. She went on in her studies and graduated in 1998 from Case Western Reserve University with her MSN, and later, with her first post-graduate nurse practitioner focus certification as a nurse midwife from Frontier University. Nearly 20 years later, she again returned to graduate school and in 2016, earned her second post-graduate nurse practitioner certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) from the University of Cincinnati.

In 2017, Carmen started her own company, which now spans three states, nine-plus providers, and 6,000 patients. She is a pioneer in the telepsychiatry world, as from the beginning, teleservices were offered by her company in the outpatient rural settings that she primarily serves. Alay Health Team, the company that she founded and runs, serves children through adults, from group homes, county facilities, and immediately post-discharge patients from prison systems. From SMI to addiction, a full scope of psychiatric services is what Carmen and her team treat, primarily in rural markets.

Carmen and her team of PMHNPs accept graduate PMHNP-clinical resident students from over 45 different universities across the US and as such, Alay Health Team is the largest teaching facility for PMHNP-clinical residents via telepsych in the country. Over 500 PMHNPs have come to learn not only telepsychiatry, but the implementation and utilization of evidence-based practice with the newer pharmaceutical therapies in the marketplace. Fiscal obtainability is additionally taught with the nuances required to fulfill these new meds.

Carmen has been expanding her reach of teaching and PMHNP placement to a multi-site primary care provider company with focus on embedding psychiatric services into primary care offices as the executive director of Behavioral Health Services. The progressive psychiatric prescribing that Carmen is known for continues to drive this expansion for her previous clinical residents, who have now become her colleagues across the companies that she places them into, while Carmen continues to orchestrate further development of these new providers during their first few formative years.

Samantha Lau, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
CEO and Founder, elevateHER, LLC; Mind by Mind on YouTube; Instagram @mind_by_mind; Private Practice Nurse Practitioner in Los Angeles; Alumni at Johns Hopkins University and University of California, Los Angeles

Samantha Lau, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC, is the CEO and founder of elevateHER, LLC, a personalized mental healthcare company that provides result-driven psychiatric care and transformational inner makeovers for busy young women who are ready to unveil their vulnerable-badass selves to feel better, work better, and love better.

She has served as a planning committee member at Psych Congress since 2017, a national medical conference that provides cutting-edge research translated into clinical application by the leading minds in psychiatry, and a co-chair at Elevate by Psych Congress, another national medical conference for practical psychopharmacology and future-focused education tailor-made for early career and forward-thinking mental health clinicians, ready to make waves in the field. Samantha is proud to be part these important conferences in their goal of building a better world-class mental healthcare system in the United States.

She worked as a West Coast manager and a psychiatric nurse practitioner in behavioral health at Landmark Health, enhancing the collaboration between physical and behavioral healthcare. She received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed her post-graduate psychiatric nurse practitioner program from Johns Hopkins University. She is double-board-certified in family medicine and psychiatry.

Her earlier career focused on becoming a more effective leader in the effort to influence health policy, with the goal of having the psychiatric field be a more fluid partner in an integrated healthcare system for the betterment of both fields. Prior to Landmark Health, Samantha was an accomplished mental healthcare specialist, a manager of nurse practitioners, and a mentor in the field at CareMore Health, Anthem Inc. She developed a quick guide for psychopharmacology and disease management and a tool for primary care practitioners to facilitate patients with mental health needs. It gives her great satisfaction to educate the public and help train the future workforce in psychiatry. She spoke to senior citizens in the community about mental illness and undergraduate students in healthcare policy at local universities.

You can find her @mind_by_mind on Instagram.

Andrew Penn, MS, PMHNP
Clinical Professor, University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing, San Francisco, California

Andrew Penn was trained as an adult nurse practitioner and psychiatric clinical nurse specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. He is board certified as an adult nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Currently, he serves as an associate clinical professor at the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing.

Mr. Penn is a psychiatric nurse practitioner with Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City, California, where he provides psychopharmacological treatment for adult patients and specializes in the treatment of affective disorders and PTSD. He is a former board member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, California Chapter, and has presented nationally on improving medication adherence, emerging drugs of abuse, treatment-resistant depression, diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder, and the art and science of psychopharmacologic practice.