March 15, 2022
2022 Shape of the Region Conference
Yesterday, Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight Region®, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s
Center of Community Research, presented the findings in the report Finding our Way Back to Mental Health at the
annual Shape of the Region Conference. This conference highlighted the complex barriers to basic mental health service - therapy, helpful medications, early interventions, as well as others. Over 300 persons attended, about half in person, and
half online, from a near complete cross section of civil society - government workers, nonprofit and foundation employees,
social changemakers, private sector businesses, and representatives from state, local, and national government offices.
The conference featured multiple panels of national and local experts for candid discussions of the challenges of accessing
basic mental health services in Northern Virginia, and what innovative ideas and opportunities may exist to address this
critical issue that impacts us all.


The discussion of the unique challenges for access to mental health presents a massive opportunity, and
a stark warning: whilst 750,000 adults in Northern Virginia have mental health needs, 370,000 who
want therapy or counselling are unable to get it.
The report investigates four systemic barriers to people getting the care they need, offering recommendations on how
Northern Virginia can work to support this large group of people by addressing systemic barriers to treatment, and what
roles the nonprofit sector, from foundations to community programs and others, can play.

In the words of Regina James M.D, our keynote speaker, “Getting to mental health is like finding a monument in
an old city on winding, diverging roads- the destination may be obvious, but getting there is not.”
Thank you once again to our presentation partners, the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, Asian American
Chamber of Commerce, Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Reston
Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, George Mason University College of Health & Human Services,
Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Northern Virginia Health
Foundation, Northern Virginia Community College, Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Northern Virginia
Technology Council, Potomac Health Foundation, Prince William Chamber of Commerce, VA Asian Chamber of
Commerce, and VA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

We would also like to thank our event sponsors, whose support helped make the event possible:
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • ConnerStrong Foundation
  • Cordia Partners
  • Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Eric Monday Foundation
  • Innovation Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Loudoun Chamber of Commerce
  • Trillium Center
  • Washington Gas
  • George Mason University College of Health and Human Services
  • VA Asian Chamber of Commerce.
And we would like to thank our speakers, who offered their expertise and experience in addressing the critical issues
discussed:
  • Chaplain Tahara Akmal, MA, BCC, Medstar Washington Hospital Center
  • Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble, Founder of the AAKOMA Project
  • Claudia Campos Galván, Chief Programs Officer and Mental Health Director at Nueva Vida
  • Sandy Chung, M.D, President-Elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Eileen Ellsworth, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
  • Darcy Gruttadaro, J.D, Director at the Center for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Association Foundation
  • Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight Region™, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Center for Community Research
  • Regina James, M.D, Deputy Medical Director and Chief of the Division of Diversity and Health Equity at the American Psychiatric Association
  • Dr. Germaine M. Louis, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University
  • Deborah D. Oswalt, Executive Director at the Virginia Health Care Foundation
  • Navid Rashid, M.D, FAPA, Practicing Clinician at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute
  • Keith D. Renshaw, Department Chair and Professor of Psychology at George Mason University
  • Drew Wilder, reporter at NBC4’s Northern Virginia Bureau
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia would like to express our gratitude for all who attended, our partners,
sponsors, as well as the event staff of Capital One Hall. We hope that this conference can serve as a foundation for ongoing
change and progress in our region.