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Fred Karnas

Fred Karnas is co-leading the S2i effort. Fred brings a long history of work in the areas of housing, health, and human services, with a special focus on addressing the needs of homeless persons, older Americans, and persons with disabilities. He has served as executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless and at HUD in the Clinton Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs, Director of the Office of AIDS Housing, and Director of the Interagency Council on the Homeless. He also served as a senior advisor to the Secretary of HUD in the Obama administration and in Arizona Governor Napolitano’s cabinet as Director of the Arizona Department of Housing and the Arizona Housing Finance Authority. Currently, Fred is a senior fellow at the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, having joined RMHF after serving several years in a similar position at The Kresge Foundation. He also served as President and CEO of St. Luke’s Health Initiatives in Phoenix. Fred holds degrees from the University of Virginia School of Architecture and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work, as well as a PhD from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.

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The World Health Organization defines “mental health” “as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” In using this definition, S2i recognizes that some mental health challenges reflect brain diseases that, like physical diseases, require appropriate stigma-free and patient-centered care and include both mental health and substance use disorders. Other mental health challenges stem from social conditions and marginalization and require different forms of interventions.