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Caren Howard (she/her) currently serves as Director of Policy and Advocacy for Mental Health America and has 13 years’ experience in congressional and political affairs, and advocacy.

Howard advises policy priorities and strategy for Mental Health America (MHA) on a wide range of issues including in health care, education, and criminal justice; facilitates relationship-building between MHA affiliates and federal and state officials through MHA’s Back Home Campaign and Hill Day programs; and manages four yearly conferences for MHA’s Regional Policy Council. Her influence on federal and state policymakers is apparent through direct connections with legislative offices as well as her ability to mobilize grassroots action. Her commitment to mental health advocacy stems from her personal lived experience and noticing the contrasting ease and difficulty between getting treatment in the U.S. for a sprained ankle versus an invisible wound.

Howard joined MHA in January 2017 after serving as a leading fundraiser for several members of the House of Representatives. Her Capitol Hill reach also extends closer to home as she spent five years at the U.S. Capitol on behalf of her hometown representative, Congressman John P. Sarbanes of Baltimore, Maryland and House Majority Leader Congressman Steny H. Hoyer of Southern Maryland. She worked with a very successful coordinated campaign in New Mexico during the 2008 election cycle which helped place Barak H. Obama as its 44th President.

Howard earned a B.A. in Political Science at Spelman College, the nation’s top ranked Historically Black College. She resides in Takoma Park, Maryland and continues involvement in her hometown community affairs in Columbia, Maryland where her parents live. Caren identifies as a person with lived experience of a mental health condition and loves to spend free time doing creative arts and playing with her spunky Pomeranian-chihuahua.

Leadership positions:

  • RemixEducation, Inc Advisory Board Member
  • Florida Mental Health Advocacy Coalition Board Member
  • NASEM Forum on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Committee Member
  • IMI Subcommittee on Adolescent and Child Health Member

Email Caren.