Keynote Speakers

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Marlee Liss

Marlee Liss is a restorative justice advocate, award-winning speaker, and embodiment coach. She is also a lesbian, Jewish feminist and trailblazer. Marlee made history in the justice system when her sexual assault case became the 1st in North America to conclude with restorative justice through the courts. This means that she fought for her assailant to go to therapy instead of proceeding to criminal trial and eventually, they met in a transformative 8-hour circle. Since then, Marlee has shared her story worldwide - being featured on major media platforms like Forbes, Huff Post, Buzzfeed, Mel Robbins Show, and more. Additionally, with a background in anti-oppressive social work, eating disorder prevention, trauma-informed yoga and somatic sex education, Marlee has coached hundreds of women worldwide in reclaming sensuality and embodied empowerment, especially after sexual trauma, disordered eating, and relationship abuse.
A renowned speaker, Marlee won 1st place at the international Speaker Slam competition on Forgiveness and has delivered presentations for: the US Military Sexual Assault Response Team, on an elite panel for the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, at Fordham School of Law, CHW Charity, Canada’s Victims & Survivors of Crime Week, and more. Further, her story is currently on contract to be made into a documentary and scripted series, as she works on her memoir. Learn more about Marlee’s work at

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Dr. Vikram Patel

Vikram Patel is The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Harvard Medical School. He co-leads the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard initiative. His work has focused on the burden of mental health problems, their association with social disadvantage, and the use of community resources for their prevention and treatment. He is a co-founder of the Movement for Global Mental Health, the Centre for Global Mental Health (at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), the Mental Health Innovations Network, and Sangath, an Indian NGO which won the WHO Public Health Champion of India prize. He is a Fellow of the UK's Academy of Medical Sciences and has served on the Committee which drafted India’s first National Mental Health Policy and the WHO High Level Independent Commission for NCDs. He co-led the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health & Sustainable Development and the Lancet-WPA Commission on Depression; he currently serves as co-chair of the Lancet Citizens Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System. He has been awarded the Chalmers Medal, the Sarnat Prize, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize, an Honorary OBE and the John Dirk Canada Gairdner Award in Global Health. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Georgetown University, York University and Stellenbosch University. He was listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015.

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Deran Young

Deran Young is a licensed therapist, New York Times Best Selling Author, former military mental health officer, and the founder of Black Therapists Rock, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes over 30,000 professionals committed to reducing the psychological impact of systemic oppression and intergenerational trauma. She obtained her social work degree from the University of Texas, where she studied abroad in Ghana, West Africa for two semesters creating a high school counseling center for impoverished students. With a current social media audience of over 100,000 followers on IG and Facebook, Deran has become a leading influencer and public figure committed to spreading mental health awareness and improving health equity.  Deran describes herself as someone who loves to learn from various cultures and has visited over 37 different countries and her clinical experience spans across four different continents. She resides in the Washington DC area and loves traveling the world with her 9-year-old son.  

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Diana Chao

Diana Chao is a first-generation Chinese-American immigrant from Southern California. Diana founded Letters to Strangers (L2S) when she was a sophomore in high school after bipolar disorder nearly ended her life. By beginning to heal through letters, she discovered that writing is humanity distilled into ink. Today, L2S is the largest global youth-for-youth mental health nonprofit, impacting over 35,000 people every year on six continents and publishing the world’s first youth-for-youth mental health guidebook for free. For this effort, Diana has been named a 2021 Princess Diana Legacy Award Winner, 2020 L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth, and Oprah Magazine's 2019 Health Hero. As part of Adobe's inaugural class of global Top Talents, Diana's “Minority Mental Health Month” self-portrait series went viral with 2+ million views, and she teaches and speaks on youth mental health. But most of the time, she is a 2021 graduate of Princeton University trying to figure out how best to navigate life.

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Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis

Dr. Thema Bryant, president-elect of the American Psychological Association, completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Duke University and her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical Center’s Victims of Violence Program. She is currently a tenured professor of psychology in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University, where she directs the Culture and Trauma Research Laboratory and teaches Trauma in Diverse Populations, Clinical Skills, Social Foundations of Psychology, and Advanced Multicultural Psychology. Dr. Thema’s clinical and research interests center on interpersonal trauma and the societal trauma of oppression. She provides national and international training on trauma recovery for marginalized communities, embodied psychotherapy, spiritual integration in psychotherapy, and liberation psychology. Prior to becoming president-elect, Dr. Thema has been actively engaged with the APA over many years. She is a past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women and a past APA representative to the United Nations, and she was a part of the first APA team to serve at the United Nations. In addition to being a reviewer for several APA journals on the topics of trauma and culture, Dr. Thema served as an Associate Editor for the APA journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Dr. Thema is co-editor of the groundbreaking APA book Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies and edited Multicultural Feminist Therapy: Helping Adolescent Girls of Color to Thrive. She is a pioneer psychologist on the trauma of racism, and she has been honored extensively by organizations such as The California Psychological Association, The Institute of Violence, Abuse and Trauma, and The International Division of APA, among others. Her work to raise public awareness of psychology beyond the academy and private therapy office has been featured on Headline News, National Public Radio, OWN TV, BET, CBS, and CNN, among other platforms.

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Dr. Archana Basu

Dr. Archana Basu is a Psychologist in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, at Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard Medical School and a Research Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Using a developmental and life course approach her research aims to understand how protective factors (e.g., sensitive caregiving) shape children’s health in the context of trauma and adversities, with a particular focus on the pregnancy – age 5 developmental period. Dr. Basu also leads Trauma Informed Care initiatives that focus on systemic approaches to addressing the impact of trauma. As a practicing psychologist, Dr. Basu works with children and families to promote coping and resilience in the context of adversities

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