The NABH Board of Trustees represents the great diversity and power of the NABH membership.


Board Chair:
Pat Hammer
President & CEO
Rogers Behavioral Health
Oconomowoc, WI

Michael Cartwright
American Addiction Centers
Brentwood, TN

First Vice Chair:
Annetta K. Caplinger, M.S.N.
Vice President Clinical Operations
Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital
Hartford, CT

Eric Kim
Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning
Signature Healthcare Services
Corona, CA

Second Vice Chair: 
Matt J. Peterson
Executive Vice President and President, Behavioral Health Division
Universal Health Services, Inc.
King of Prussia, PA

John Stupak
Sequel Youth and Family Services
St Petersburg, FL

At Large Seats:

Stuart Archer, F.A.C.H.E., M.B.A.
Chief Executive Officer
Oceans Healthcare
Plano, TX

Samuel A. Bastien, IV, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Four Winds Saratoga
Saratoga Springs, NY

Jennifer Ziccardi-Colson, B.S.W., B.S.N., MHA/M.S.N., R.N., NEA-BC
Chief Nurse Executive and Vice President for Behavioral Health
Atrium Health’s Behavioral Health Services
Charlotte, NC

James M. Dredge
Chief Executive Officer
Meadows Behavioral Health
Phoenix, AZ

Frank Fortunati, Jr., M.D., J.D.
Medical Director
Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital
New Haven, CT

Michele L. Gougeon
Executive VP & Chief Operating Officer
McLean Hospital
Belmont, MA

John Hollinsworth
Executive Vice President of Operations
Acadia Healthcare, Inc.
Franklin, TN

Robert (Bob) J. Maha, M.D.
President and CEO
Springstone, Inc.
Louisville, KY

Marsha Medlin
Vice President Post Acute IP Care & Behavioral Health
Community Health Systems
Franklin, TN

Jameson K. Norton, M.B.A.
Chief Executive Officer
Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics
Nashville, TN

Donald Parker
Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic
Belle Mead, NJ

Eric H. Paul
President, Behavioral Health Services
HCA, Inc.
Nashville, TN

Dominic Sirianni, L.M.H.C., C.A.P.
Chief Executive Officer
Delphi Behavioral Health Group
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Blair Stam
Strategic Behavioral Health, LLC
Memphis, TN

Harsh K. Trivedi, M.D., M.B.A.
President & CEO
Sheppard Pratt Health System
Baltimore, MD

Dwight Willingham
Division President
Acadia Healthcare, Inc.
Franklin, TN


Mark Covall

President and CEO

Mark Covall is president and CEO of the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH). Mark has more than 35 years of experience in healthcare policy and is an expert on Medicare, Medicaid, and quality issues related to behavioral healthcare. He has founded and helped to lead a wide variety of coalitions working to improve the lives of individuals with mental and addictive disorders. In addition, Mark has played a central role in advocacy successes on issues including parity, the Medicare inpatient psychiatric prospective payment system, and healthcare reform.

Before he became NABH’s president and CEO, Mark served as the executive director of the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association (now known as the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness), an association that represents the nation’s leading managed behavioral healthcare companies.

Mark also served for nine years as the director of government relations at the association, which was then called the National Association of Private Psychiatric Hospitals. Early in his career, Mark worked on Capitol Hill for the House Aging Committee’s Health and Long-Term Care Subcommittee.

Shawn Coughlin

Executive Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy

Shawn Coughlin is the executive vice president for government relations and public policy at NABH. In this role, he serves as the association’s principal lobbyist, oversees the association’s advocacy work on Capitol Hill, and helps to set and implement strategic policy goals that support high-quality, evidence-based behavioral healthcare for Americans living with mental and substance use disorders.

Shawn brings more than 30 years of advocacy experience to the association. Prior to joining NABH, Shawn served as the association’s advocacy consultant on behavioral health policy during his almost 16 years with Capitol Health Group as the firm’s principal and chief operating officer. He is a leading healthcare advocate and policy expert who works with patient and provider groups, regulators, public and private payers and trade associations. Shawn began his health policy career working on Capitol Hill, handling various healthcare policy needs for the House Ways and Means Committee. Shawn earned his bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. and a master’s degree in public management from the University of Maryland.

Jessica Zigmond

Director of Communications

Jessica Zigmond is the director of communications at NABH. In this role, she leads efforts to communicate the vital role that behavioral health plays in helping Americans achieve overall health.

Jessica brings to the association her experiences as both a journalist and public relations executive. Before joining NABH, Jessica was the vice president, group manager at Ketchum, where she served as project manager for a federal government account overseeing communications about clinical quality standards and value-based incentives to the nation’s healthcare providers.

Previously, Jessica served as the Washington bureau chief for Modern Healthcare magazine, where she oversaw coverage of federal health legislation, regulatory changes, and healthcare industry trends. Earlier as the magazine’s public health reporter, Jessica reported on a range of public health issues, including rural suicide, national emergencies and the uninsured population.

Jessica’s previous experience includes positions with Hager Sharp, Reuters, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Scott Dziengelski

Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs

Scott Dziengelski is the director of policy and regulatory affairs at NABH. In this role, he develops and advocates the association’s policy positions before federal agencies to help achieve positive outcomes for behavioral healthcare providers in the areas of federal statutes, regulations and guidance.

Scott also works to develop policies and programs that promote quality behavioral healthcare services nationwide. Previously he served as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and was instrumental in helping to build broad, bipartisan support for the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which ultimately led to important reforms that were incorporated into the 21st Century Cures Act.

During his career, Scott has received the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’s “Friend of Children’s Mental Health” award as well as the Medal of Merit from the U.S. Capitol police.

Sarah Wattenberg

Director of Quality and Addiction Services

Sarah A. Wattenberg is the director of quality and addiction services at NABH. In this role, she oversees the association’s interest, positions, and actions related to behavioral healthcare quality and addiction services.

Previously Sarah worked as senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Policy. In that role, she served on the president’s parity task force, where she provided scientific, technical, and policy consultation on improving implementation of substance use and mental health insurance parity, including guidance on medication assisted treatment.

Sarah spent nearly two decades working in the federal government, advising high-level executive branch officials about emerging issues, challenges, and policy opportunities related to opioids and other drugs; evidence-based practices; service-delivery arrangements; public and commercial financing and parity; privacy and treatment quality. She also brings with her clinical experience, as she spent 11 years working in community-based programs for the seriously mentally ill in Montgomery County, Md. Sarah has also opened a mental health clinic; served as a liaison to law enforcement, homeless shelters, and county and state agencies; and supported developing Maryland’s “crisis” regulations. Before she began her work with the federal government, she was the senior director for clinical policy development at one of the nation’s largest managed behavioral healthcare companies.

Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University and her master’s degree in social work from Catholic University of America.

Julia E. Richardson

Director of Advocacy and Senior Counsel

Julia E. Richardson is the director of advocacy and senior counsel at NABH. In this role, she is responsible for developing strategies that increase the visibility of and action on NABH advocacy priorities and initiatives. She works to expand the NABH advocacy network, enhance capacity for advocacy, and facilitate effective collaborations with NABH members.

Julia also manages the NABH PAC activities. She brings to NABH experience at both the federal and state level with policy analysis, legislative strategy, and campaign finance.

Prior to joining NABH, Julia served as director of the Office of Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. She previously served as senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules & Administration, then chaired by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). Before she moved to the Senate, Julia served as counsel to the commission chair and vice chair at the Federal Election Commission (FEC). She also served as a legislative assistant/director and district office coordinator in the Florida House of Representatives.

Julia earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Florida Bar.

Maria Merlie

Director of Operations

Maria Merlie is the director of operations at NABH. In this role, she is responsible for all of the association’s member services and administrative activities.

Maria oversees the NABH Annual Meeting, which includes soliciting and managing the Annual Meeting’s exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contracting with the hotel, and supervising all activities on site. Maria also serves as the staff liaison to the NABH Board of Trustees, where she coordinates all Board meetings and supervises the Board member election process.

Maria is a graduate of the Katharine Gibbs Business School.

Lester Altschul

Office Assistant

Lester Altschul is NABH’s Office Assistant. In this role, Lester is responsible for a range of administrative functions, including reviewing the annual Membership Directory and preparing all mailings.

Born on Chicago’s South Side, Lester grew up in Wilmette, a northern Chicago suburb. Lester studied biology and math at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.