Thursday, May 20, 2021, 3pm ET
Thank you to everyone who joined the Miami Foundation for Mental Health, the Matthew Harris Ornstein Memorial Foundation, Addiction Policy Forum and Columbia University on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 3pm for this special exploration of the PBS documentary The Definition of Insanity with speakers Judge Steven Leifman, Dr. Norm Ornstein, filmmaker Rob Reiner and Dr. Stephanie Le Melle.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) has dedicated her public life to serving South Floridians and standing up for justice, equality, and opportunity wherever and whenever it is threatened. As Florida’s first Jewish Congresswoman, she has earned the respect of her colleagues for working tirelessly on behalf of seniors, children, and families for nearly three decades.
First sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz previously served in the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate where she originally displayed her philosophy that there is “no task too small, and no goal too big.” She is a leader on improving treatment and services for individuals with mental illness. As Chief Deputy Whip of the Democratic Caucus, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has the unique ability to work with and help lead her colleagues in support of a progressive policy agenda.
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) is currently fulfilling his 9th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Florida’s 25th congressional district. Diaz-Balart is a senior member of the House Committee on Appropriations and is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, in addition to serving on the Defense Subcommittee. He passionately serves his constituents, acting tirelessly in defense of individual rights and liberties, promoting economic prosperity, and supporting a strong national defense. He is well known for his advocacy of human rights and democracy around the world, as well as for his staunch support of our global allies.
Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 to represent Florida’s 25th Congressional district. Prior to his time in Congress, Diaz-Balart served 14 years in the Florida State Legislature in both chambers, House and Senate. He chaired a number of different committees, including the Combined Appropriations/Ways and Means/Finance and Tax Committee.
Rob Reiner is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, and political activist. As an actor, Mr. Reiner first came to national prominence with the role of Michael Stivic on the CBS sitcom All in the Family (1971–1979), a performance that earned him two Primetime Emmy Awards.
As a director, Mr. Reiner was recognized by the Directors Guild of America Awards with nominations for the coming of age drama Stand by Me (1986), the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989), and the military courtroom drama A Few Good Men (1992), the last of which also earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Mr. Reiner's other major directorial film credits include the heavy metal mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), the romantic comedy fantasy adventure The Princess Bride (1987), the psychological horror-thriller Misery (1990), the romantic comedy-drama The American President (1995), the buddy comedy-drama The Bucket List (2007), and the biographical political drama LBJ (2016).
Mr. Reiner is also is known as a political activist, co-founding the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which initiated the court challenge against California Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage in the state. Mr. Reiner is a member of the Social Responsibility Task Force, an organization advocating moderation where social issues (such as violence and tobacco use) and the entertainment industry meet. He is also active in environmental issues, and he successfully led the effort to establish California's Ahmanson Ranch as a state park and wildlife refuge rather than as a commercial real estate development.
Judge Steve Leifman is the Associate Administrative Judge of the Miami-Dade County Court 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida. From 2007 – 2010, Judge Leifman served as Special Advisor on Criminal Justice and Mental Health for the Supreme Court of Florida. From 2010 to 2018, Judge Leifman chaired the Florida Supreme Court’s Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Court. He currently chairs the Steering Committee on Problem Solving Courts for the Supreme Court of Florida and the Mental Health Committee for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida. In 2000, Judge Leifman established the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project, which aims to divert people with serious mental illnesses from the criminal justice system into treatment. Judge Leifman is the co-chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Mental Health Committee. He is also a Gubernatorial appointment to the Florida Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse and a member of The National Institute on Drug Addiction’s (NIDA) Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network.
In 2015, Judge Leifman received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. One of the nation’s highest judicial honors presented by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Rehnquist Award is presented annually to a state court judge who exemplifies judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Judge Leifman is also the first recipient to receive the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence (2015). He was named by New Times as one of Miami-Dade’s most interesting people of 2017 and a 2016 Governing Magazine Public Official of the Year. More recently, Judge Leifman was awarded the 2018 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health, the 2019 Yale-NAMI Mental Health Advocacy Award, a 2019 Presidential Commendation by the American Psychiatric Association and the 2019 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Public Service Award.
Judge Leifman has been featured in many national and local television programs, radio programs and articles regarding mental health and the criminal justice system. He has appeared as a guest on many Podcasts and has authored and published numerous articles and book chapters on mental illnesses and the criminal justice system.
Stephanie M. Le Melle MD Director of Public Psychiatry Education Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center Columbia Univ. Dept of Psychiatry / New York State Psychiatric Institute Dr Le Melle is currently the Director of Public Psychiatry Education at New York State Psychiatric Institute / Columbia University and the Director of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship. For 12 years she was the Associate Director of the Washington Heights Community Service and then was the Clinical Director of New York State Psychiatric Institute.
She received her MD from Mt Sinai School of Medicine and she has an MS in Molecular Biology from Hunter College CUNY. Dr Le Melle did an internship and residency in psychiatry at Columbia University and then completed the Public Psychiatry Fellowship also at Columbia.
Dr. Le Melle is interested in public/community psychiatry particularly in the treatment and care of people with severe mental illness (SMI) and complex needs. She is the Course Director for Public Psychiatry Education in the Columbia University Psychiatry Residency program. She is also interested in the relationship between the behavioral health system and the legal system. She was a member of the Mac Arthur Foundation's Network on Mandated Community Treatment for 10 years. D.r Le Melle was an Expert Advisor to NYC Mayor di Blasio’s Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System at Riker’s Taskforce and has worked closely with OMH and DOHMH on new initiatives related to integrating systems of care. She is also a consultant to the American Psychiatric Association Foundation Justice initiatives and the Stepping Up Initiative. Dr. Le Melle was Vice President of the American Association for Community Psychiatry and continues on the board as a Member at Large. She was on the National Advisory Board for SAMSHA and is an active member of the American Psychiatric Association and NAMI. She is also a member of the Columbia Psychiatry Dept Committee on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity and has a focus on recovery-oriented care, systems-based practice and social justice.
Norman Ornstein is Vice President of the Matthew Harris Ornstein Memorial Foundation, www.mornstein.org, which was the catalyst for creation of the film, The Definition of Insanity. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a contributing editor and writer for The Atlantic and has been an election eve analyst for CBS News and BBC News. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Campaign Legal Center.
He served as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission and co-directed the AEI-Brookings Project on alternatives to the Independent Counsel Act. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, which reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy; The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, with Tom Mann; and The New York Times bestseller, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, also with Tom Mann (2012, named Book of the Year by Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, one of the ten best books on politics in 2012 by The New Yorker, and one of the best books of 2012 by The Washington Post. An expanded edition, retitled It’s Even Worse Than It Was, was published in 2016. His latest book, with EJ Dionne and Tom Mann, One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate and the Not-Yet-Deported (2017) was immediately on the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists. Mr. Ornstein has a BA from the University of Minnesota and an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from his alma mater in 2007. Mr. Ornstein was spotlighted as one of 2012’s 100 Top Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine.