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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Announces Two Key Hires to Support Mission

5 Aug 2021 — 4 min read



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AFSP Spotlight Interview: Renee Cruz, AFSP’s New Vice President of Project 2025

New hires will support AFSP’s advocacy for legislation and goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025

NEW YORK (August 6, 2021) – The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, today announced two key hires. Laurel Stine, J.D., M.A. joins the organization as Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Renee Cruz, MPH has been named Vice President of Project 2025.

“Laurel and Renee are seasoned experts with a track record of accomplishments in their respective fields of public policy and project management. Each has made a meaningful difference to those impacted by mental health and suicide, and we are excited to have them on the AFSP team” said AFSP’s CEO Robert Gebbia. I am confident they will be instrumental in advancing our mission through effective advocacy in State Capitols and on Capitol Hill, and through Project 2025, where we are serving as a catalyst in the field to reduce the suicide rate by 20 percent by the year 2025.” 

Laurel Stine, J.D., M.A.

As Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Laurel Stine will lead AFSP’s Washington D.C.-based policy team in the development and advancement of federal and state policy.

Prior to joining AFSP, Stine has engaged in mental health and disability policy development and advocacy for over 25 years. She most recently served as Senior Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs and Partnerships for the American Psychological Association. In her role, she advocated for the availability and accessibility of psychological services, primarily involving public and private health insurance and telehealth, and led advocacy organizational relationship initiatives and created strategic alliances. Stine also served as the chief lobbyist for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law — a national legal- advocacy organization — where she managed a diverse portfolio of federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting children and adults with mental disorders in the areas of health care, education, and justice. As a federal healthcare lobbyist, Stine also represented the interests of people with epilepsy and children and adults with ADHD.

Stine serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) — a coalition of over 70 national behavioral health organizations — and co-led the Health Policy Committee for over ten years with coalition successes, including the enactment of mental health parity, the Affordable Care Act and comprehensive mental health reform.

Renee Cruz, MPH

As Vice President of Project 2025, Renee Cruz will lead and work with external and internal partners and stakeholder to continue developing and implementing AFSP’s Project 2025, the organization’s unprecedented commitment to drive evidenced based suicide prevention on a scale not seen before to ultimately, reduce the suicide rate by 20 percent by the year 2025.

Cruz brings more than 18 years of successful program and project management experience in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining AFSP, she served as a Global Program Director for Michelin Corporation and Executive Director of Program Delivery and Transformation at HCA Mission Health Systems. Earlier in her career, she served as Senior Director of Project and Portfolio Management for the State of North Carolina, as Health Systems Executive Director for the State of Ohio, Department of Medicaid and as a Mental Health Specialist at West Virginia University Hospital’s Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine.

Project 2025

AFSP’s Project 2025 is an unprecedented commitment to positively impact our culture surrounding mental health and suicide prevention and ultimately, reduce the suicide rate by 20 percent by the year 2025. But we cannot do it alone. We are mobilizing institutions, associations and individuals across healthcare, corrections, and the firearms community in a collective effort to embrace evidence-based practices and research to drive policy, increase open-mindedness around mental health, and save lives. Project 2025 is a first-of-its kind initiative, led by AFSP, that rallies institutions, associations, and individuals to implement training, policies, and practices that are shown through research to save lives

Through collaboration with the top minds in the field and dynamic data modeling, AFSP has identified healthcare systems, corrections, and the firearms community as three critical areas where suicide prevention strategies must be implemented and scaled nationwide. By partnering with leaders across these three critical areas, we can help put suicide prevention efforts programs, policies, and interventions into practice that will reach more people in need and save the most amount of lives in the shortest amount of time.

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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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