What’s Next on Mental Health: Making the System Work for People Living with Schizophrenia Speaker Bios

Arundati Nagendra, Ph.D. is the Director of Research and Scientific Affairs at the Schizophrenia and Psychosis Action Alliance. Prior to this role, she completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, followed by her clinical internship at the Yale School of Medicine and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nagendra is passionate about improving access to evidence-based care for individuals who have experienced psychosis and their family members. She has spearheaded research in this area for over a decade and has also provided evidence-based and recovery-oriented treatments to individuals who experience psychosis and their family members in community mental health centers, first-episode coordinated care specialty clinics, and inpatient units.
Holly Krasa, MSc is the CEO & Managing Director of Blue Persimmon Group – a strategic advisory firm founded in 2019 that works with non-profit advocacy and life sciences companies. Holly serves as the Secretary on the board of directors of the Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliance and as an advisor for various non-profit and academic organization committees and consortia.


Holly has spent her career working to improve the lives of people living with chronic health conditions through her work as a global medical product development leader and health outcomes researcher. She has over 25 years of evidence development experience supporting regulatory submissions, public policy change, and healthcare reimbursement. Holly specializes in brain, heart, kidney, and rare conditions and has successful development experience with clinical outcome measures, biomarkers, first-in-disease, and first-of-kind treatments.

Holly received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in Neurobiology and Physiology from Northwestern University. She is based in Washington, DC.

Katherine Koh, M.D., MSc is a practicing psychiatrist at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) and Massachusetts General Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. As a member of the street team at BHCHP, Dr. Koh focuses her clinical care on homeless patients who live on the street through a combination of street outreach, clinic sessions, and home visits for patients recently or unstably housed. She also maintains a general outpatient practice at MGH and conducts research on homelessness and mental health. She is a graduate of the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency Program, where she served as MGH Chief Resident as well as Chief Resident for Community Psychiatry. She earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She received a Master of Science in Evidence-Based Social Intervention, with Distinction, from Oxford University. She earned her BA, magna cum laude with Highest Honors in Psychology, from Harvard College.
Paul ‘Paulie VanEdWærd’ Benjamin, Artist, Earth Star, Heart Root has always been a very logical yet creative person. Earliest memory of this was walking to school at about the age of 6 by themselves and playing at skipping cracks in the sidewalk, but to the beat of a song or as part of a pattern several yards in front of them. Their penchant for math — especially geometry — but lack of patience for advanced physics They’ve come to realize is mostly because they simply see ‘big picture’ patterns naturally, but get easily bogged down in picking at the details. So their diagnosed OCD, bipolar (II), schizophrenia (and several undiagnosed schizoaffective symptoms), etc., have been things they’ve recently been able to work through. First it was with years of medications, talk therapy, and an enormous amount of help and Love from family and friends. Whether they knew it or not! Recently they’ve undergone a self-induced full detoxification of *all* pharmaceutical prescriptions, and numerous other chemicals both manufactured (eg, THC edibles) and natural (sugars, complex carbs, caffeine, preservatives and other processed substances such as those found in homogenized products). They’re happy to say they’re no longer taking *any* pharmaceuticals and are slowly finding which other things they feel OK ingesting. More importantly, in what quantities and how often they’re comfortable with them. For example, they prefer not to eat animal flesh, but have no real problem with it from time to time. Also, exercise via dancing, walking or just cleaning around the house is *huge*! From all this, their life now has become almost an entirely renewed experience. And it keeps evolving.

Russell Louis Margolis, M.D is Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Margolis received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and completed residency training in Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and a fellowship in neurobiology at the National Institute of Mental Health. 

Dr. Margolis serves as Clinical Director of the Schizophrenia Center, Director of the Schizoaffective Disorder Precision Medicine Center of Excellence, and Director of the Laboratory of Genetic Neurobiology.  He treats patients at the Johns Hopkins inpatient Schizophrenia Unit and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic, and teaches students at all levels. He also provides consultative second opinion evaluations for individuals with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and related conditions.  

His research interests include the pathogenesis of hereditary neurodegenerative disorders (including two discovered by his group), the phenotypic features that may distinguish different subtypes of schizophrenia, the application of advanced neuroimaging to schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, and the application of neurogenetic techniques to characterize the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Contact: rmargoli@jhmi.edu