Team / Background

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Lynn Schultz
Lynn Schultz

Al Carter
Al Carter

Lauren Stentz
Lauren Stentz

Ray Collins
Ray Collins

Rhonda Jackson
Rhonda Jackson

Michael Hartford
Michael Hartford

Cory Smith
Cory Smith

Nick Howland
Nick Howland

Walter Sachs
Walter Sachs

Emile Hawkins
Chaplain Lt. Col. Emile Hawkins, Sr.

Background

Governor’s Challenge Background:

  • On March 5, 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order (13861) on a “National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End Suicide” that served as a call to action
  • The VA and HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) partnered to launch the city-level “Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families” and shortly thereafter the state-level “Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families”
  • Jacksonville accepted the city-level Mayor’s Challenge
  • Florida accepted the state-level Governor’s Challenge at the end of 2019
    • Florida was in the second cohort of states in the country to accept this challenge
  • Currently, there are 30+ states and counting that have accepted the Governor’s Challenge

Purpose of the Governor’s Challenge:

  • Broadly – To help local leaders in community and state governments work together to prevent suicide among Veterans
  • Specifically – To convene a state interagency military and civilian team of leaders to develop an implementation plan to prevent suicide among service members, Veterans, and their families that will advance the VA’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide and incorporate evidence-based strategies from the CDC’s Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices
    • This state-level initiative works in conjunction with the President’s national PREVENTS Office and Task Force
    • Each Governor’s Challenge Team develops strategic action plans to implement Veteran suicide prevention efforts in a manner tailored to their state’s unique needs and resources

Governor’s Challenge Process

governors challenge process chart

Florida is currently entering the “Implementation” stage.

Important Milestones:

  • January 2020: Pre-Site Visit
  • February 2020: Policy Academy in DC along with 7 other participating states
  • May 2020: Post-Academy Virtual Site Visit
  • August 2020: National Virtual Reconvening of Florida’s cohort of 8 states
  • January 2021: Implementation Academy Planning Call
  • April 2021: 3-day Virtual Implementation Academy

The Florida Governor’s Challenge Team is comprised of dedicated and passionate individuals from agencies and entities including: