The concurrent crises of the pandemic, economic fallout and racial inequities are creating a recipe for another crisis—in mental health. Brown Advisory’s Bertie Thomson sits down with Dr. Ray DePaulo of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Kristen Roby Dimlow of Microsoft and Dr. Richard Frank of Harvard Medical School to gain a deeper understanding of the stressors, as well as solutions, posed by this challenging time.

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Episode Introduction

Bertie Thomson: We’re living through the most profound public health crisis any of us has ever experienced. And slowly – as we’ve begun to understand the full impact of the coronavirus – we’ve come to recognize it as a mental health crisis as well. In the short-term, it’s a crisis of loneliness and disruption to our lives.

Further down the road, there’ll be other mental health challenges – as unemployment takes its toll; as we begin to deal with our grief over the many thousands who’ve died; as we reckon with a legacy of racial violence and discrepancies in health outcomes; and – perhaps as much as anything – as we come to understand our sense of belonging in these very changed circumstances.

Whether it’s family, community or work, our relationship with these pillars of our lives and our well-being will be altered. A generation ago, most of us would have focused solely on our physical health.

I’m Bertie Thomson, I’m a partner at Brown Advisory, and I’m delighted to say that we are also now focusing on our mental well-being – and we are having conversations about mental health openly and candidly. Whereas in the past, our employers would have said, “that has nothing to do with us”; companies today know that the mental health of their people is very much their business. But that’s not to say that we always know how to approach these issues – how to have conversations with people about how they are REALLY doing, how to factor mental well-being into our culture and our workplaces.

All that was true before the pandemic, and it'll be much more so afterwards. So it’s been an amazing and thought-provoking experience for me to bring together three true experts in this field. Ray DePaulo is the co-director of the Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine; Richard Frank is a professor of health economics at Harvard Medical School; and Kristen Roby Dimlow is a vice president at Microsoft, where she runs employee benefits and is responsible for the company’s enlightened mental health programs.

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J. Raymond DePaulo Jr.

J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D.

Co-director, Mood Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine

J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr., M.D. is a University Distinguished Service Professor and co-director of the Mood Disorder Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has been an active clinician, teacher and researcher throughout his 39 years on the Johns Hopkins faculty. He founded the Hopkins Affective Disorders Clinic in 1977 and grew it into a multifaceted program that led patient care, teaching and research on depression and bipolar disorder at Johns Hopkins. Dr. DePaulo was the Henry Phipps Professor, director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 2002 until 2016. Dr. DePaulo’s research interests focus on clinical assessment, diagnosis, causes and treatments of mood disorders. His research group led several early genetic studies of bipolar disorder and unipolar depression. He has authored over 140 peer-reviewed scientific articles and mentored outstanding clinician scientists. Dr. DePaulo worked with Dr. Karen Swartz, who leads the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program, which developed, teaches and studies a model curriculum on depression for high schools. He has partnered with Dr. Kay Jamison in research, education and advocacy efforts for patients and families. Dr. DePaulo is now the chair of the board of directors of the National Network of Depression Centers. He has served on several foundation boards of directors and scientific advisory boards related to mood disorders. Dr. DePaulo has authored two books on depressive illnesses for patients and families (Understanding Depression and How to Cope with Depression). He has won a number of national awards for clinical leadership, teaching and research in depression and bipolar disorder. He has twice been named a Forum Fellow at the World Economic Forum, held annually in Davos, Switzerland.
Kristen Roby Dimlow

Kristen Roby Dimlow

Corporate Vice President, Human Resources, Microsoft

Kristen Roby Dimlow is responsible for Total Rewards, Performance and HR Business Insights at Microsoft, which includes broad-based global compensation, executive compensation, U.S. benefits, international benefits strategy and philosophy, global mobility and relocation, performance management, stock design and administration, M&A, and HR Business Insights which is Microsoft’s people analytics function. Roby Dimlow is a 20-plus year Microsoft veteran who spent the first half of her Microsoft career in corporate finance controller positions, including for Office, Windows, Server and Xbox. She moved to HR in 2002, leading university recruiting, and transitioned to engineering line leader roles in Windows, Platforms and Services Division, Online Services and Devices. In September 2016, Roby Dimlow returned to Microsoft after serving as chief human resources officer of F5 Networks, where she led all HR functions, including compensation and benefits, working regularly with its compensation committee and board. Prior to her first Microsoft tour, Roby Dimlow held finance leadership roles at Walt Disney Studios, most recently as VP finance for Disney TeleVentures. Prior to Disney, Roby Dimlow was a financial analyst at GE and completed the Financial Management Program. Roby Dimlow holds a B.B.A. in management from the College of William and Mary.
Richard Frank

Richard Frank, Ph.D.

Professor of Health Economics, Harvard Medical School

Richard Frank, Ph.D., is the Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics. His research is focused on the economics of mental health and substance abuse care, long-term care financing policy, health care competition and implementation of health reform and disability policy. He served as the deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), directing the Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy from 2009 to 2011. From 2014 to 2016, he served as the DHHS assistant secretary for planning and evaluation. Dr. Frank served as an editor for the Journal of Health Economics for nine years. He was awarded the Carl A. Taube Award from the American Public Health Association and the John Eisenberg Mentorship Award from the National Research Service Awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He received the AcademyHealth Distinguished Investigator Award in June 2018. He is co-author with Sherry Glied of the book Better but Not Well. Dr. Frank received his BA in economics from Bard University and his Ph.D. in economics from Boston University.



Bertie Thomson

Bertie Thomson, CFA

Portfolio Manager, Brown Advisory

Bertie is a portfolio manager of the Global Leaders strategy. Prior to joining Brown Advisory in October 2015, Bertie spent 13 years at Aberdeen Asset Management where he was most recently a Senior Investment Manager in the Pan European equity team who was responsible for £6bn of client assets.



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