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The Second Pandemic of Mental Health: An Expert Panel Discussion


The impact of COVID-19 on mental healthcare has been nothing short of staggering, which is why it has been justifiably referred to as the "second pandemic." Months of isolation, the loss of loved ones, elevated fear and uncertainty, and the financial toll wreaked by the pandemic have led to a surge in the number of Americans reporting mental health distress symptoms, adding to what was already a growing national crisis.

Join a panel of behavioral health experts for a discussion on this second pandemic of mental health. The experts will explore the significant challenges and opportunities for healthcare providers around mental healthcare today. Topics covered will include the following:

  • Effects of the pandemic on mental health, particularly in underserved communities.
  • How these challenges are impacting healthcare professionals.
  • What providers can do to meet the increased needs for mental healthcare.
  • Key steps to begin repairing the flawed mental health system.
  • The role technology can play in accelerating progress.


Hansa Bhargava, MD

Hansa Bhargava, MD

CMO, Medscape Education | Senior Medical Director, WebMD | Staff Physician, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

As a thought leader in innovation, mental health, maternity, and pediatrics, Dr. Bhargava often speaks on using current digital footprints to elevate data and education to help disparities, opioid addiction, and mental health. She is currently on the board for the Emory University Global Health Institute and Christopher Wolfe Foundation and is an executive member of the committee on communications and media for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Sherry Farrugia

Sherry Farrugia

CEO, Global Center for Medical Innovation

Sherry Farrugia is the CEO of the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a comprehensive medical device innovation center dedicated to accelerating development, building businesses, and improving health. Ms. Farrugia came to GCMI from the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center at Georgia Tech, where she served as chief operating and strategy officer for 10 years, focusing on accelerating innovation for pediatrics. She was recently named to the board of directors for the Medical University of South Carolina Foundation for Research Development and is currently an advisory board member of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, on the board of directors of the International Society of Pediatric Innovation, and a member of the Southeast Life Sciences Women@SLS advisory board.

Josh Spitalnick

Josh Spitalnick, PhD, ABPP

CEO and Practice Owner, Anxiety Specialists of Atlanta | Adjunct Professor, Emory University Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Josh Spitalnick is clinical director and owner of Anxiety Specialists of Atlanta. He is a board-certified (ABPP) licensed clinical psychologist and specializes in providing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat adolescents, adults, and families who are struggling with many of the common issues people face. These include anxiety, depression, stress, health and medical issues, and relationship difficulties. As a CBT psychologist, Dr. Spitalnick is trained to provide exposure-based therapies, which are recognized as some of the most evidence-based approaches for treating anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, panic, and posttraumatic stress disorder.



Thomas R. Young, MD

CMO and Founder, Proem

Dr. Young, chief medical officer for and founder of Proem Health, is a board-certified family physician with more than 35 years of medical experience. He is responsible for working with the Proem team of software technology experts and the company's customers and partners to ensure clinical best practices are incorporated into all of Proem's work. Dr. Young is a recognized thought leader in consumer-directed healthcare and population health management and is a frequent speaker at behavioral health industry events.

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