University of Washington
Need help now?  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255
Need Help Now? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1.800.273.8255

Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Melissa AllisonMelissa AllisonReal estate writer, Zillow

Melissa was a newspaper reporter for almost 20 years. She wrote about her first husband's death by suicide and lessons she learned the hard way about recognizing when someone is suicidal and what loved ones can do to help. She was also part of a group that created national recommendations for reporting on suicide.


Harry Brown  Harry Brown Counselor, Mercer Island Youth & Family Services

Harry is a mental health counselor working for Mercer Island Youth and Family Services based at Islander Middle School. His work includes serving as the Natural Helper co-advisor, and providing classroom instruction on concerns related to emotional management, depression awareness and suicide prevention.


David Dickinson  Randal Beam SAMHSA Regional Administrator, HHS Region 10

David A. Dickinson, MA, has over 35 years’ experience in behavioral health, working in clinical service delivery as a counselor, program manager and agency director, as well as serving in leadership positions in state government in Kansas and Washington. His clinical career also included service delivery in California, Colorado, and Oregon. Prior to his current position, David served as the director of the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) in the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.


J. Ivan Figueroa Scot SimpsonAdvisor, Marketing & Brand Development

Ivan is a brand builder, marketer, and creator at the intersection of tech and culture—helping launch and grow brands at the forefront of media innovation. Having been personally affected by suicide, his healing process inspired him to use his experience and insight for good, engaging our community to shed the taboo associated with suicide and helping other survivors heal.


Lynn Kessler  Lynn Kessler Retired State Representative (24th Legislative District)

Lynn served 18 years in the Washington State House of Representatives; for twelve of those years, she was House Majority Leader receiving the Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award 2010. She is a former small-business owner and the executive director of the United Way of Grays Harbor.


Donn Marshall  Donn Marshall Associate Dean of Students & Director of Counseling, University of Puget Sound

In addition to his responsibilities at UPS, Donn conducts professional education seminars on the assessment and management of suicide risk. He is engaged in research examining the effectiveness of a specific suicide intervention protocol at UPS, where he also teaches a course on suicide prevention.


Elizabeth McCauley  Elizabeth McCauley Professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Director of Child Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Elizabeth is engaged in research designed to characterize the development, course, and management of clinical depression in young people. She has extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of depressed youth across a continuum of both clinical and community care (schools, primary care) settings.

*Dr. McCauley is also one of Forefront’s affiliated faculty members.


Aurélie McKinstry  Aurélie McKinstry Executive Director of the Jolene McCaw Family Foundation

Aurélie is the Executive Director of the Jolene McCaw Family Foundation, a private family foundation that supports the healthy social and emotional development of children and youth. Protecting emotional and mental health and suicide prevention are key areas of focus and funding priorities for the foundation.


Gina Sala Gina Sala  Community Advocate

Gina Salá is a world traveler, collector of all types of music, composer, vocalist, music director, sound healer and teacher. She has performed at the United Nations, for Disney, was the principal singer in Cirque du Soleil’s “O,” just to name a few performances.


Amnon Shoenfeld Amnon Shoenfeld  Former Director, King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division


Amnon was the Director of the King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division for many years before his retirement in 2014. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Forefront Advisory Board and as the chair of the legislative sub-committee.


Shea Simpson Scot Simpson Content Licensing, Amazon Music

Shea lost his brother to suicide in 1992. Since then he has followed in his parents’ footsteps by taking an active role in suicide prevention, previously serving on the board of directors at the Jacquelyn Bogue Foundation for Suicide Prevention Orange County. Shea’s professional background is in business development, product management and digital media.


John Steel John SteelPartner, DLA Piper

John has been recognized as one of the leading corporate lawyers in Washington State for more than three decades serving as general corporate counsel to a number of large non-profit corporations. His practice focuses on business formations, financings and transactions, particularly for companies in the technology industry.


Mark Torrance Mark TorrancePresident, Mark Torrance Foundation

Mark formed the charitable organization “The Mark Torrance Foundation” which funds education and ecological efforts. Since its inception in 2000 it has supported over 100 non-profit organizations. He has served on the Boards of the Nature Conservancy, the Pacific Science Center and The Northwest Children's Fund.


Lisa Wahbe  Lisa WahbeCommunity Advocate

Coming from a family of psychologists and having known others who have struggled with mental illness, Lisa feels strongly about improving the future of those who are touched by depression and suicide. Her expertise is in many forms of the creative arts.


Robin Warren Robin WarrenDirector, Senior Corporate Counsel, Blucora, Inc.

Robin is an in-house lawyer for a publicly-traded northwest technology company. Her practice focuses on commercial matters, intellectual property, employment issues, advertising law, and legal issues related to product development and offshore sourcing.


Peggy West  Peggy WestSteering Committee member, Washington State Suicide Prevention Plan

Peggy has more than 40 years of experience working in and with behavioral health, primary health care and public health agencies, most recently as a senior advisor for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. She provides leadership to the development of state suicide prevention efforts in western states.




Advisors Emeriti

Randal Beam  Randal Beam Professor, UW School of Communication

Randy holds the Dart Endowed Professorship in Journalism and Trauma. He is a former journalist and co-author of the book The American Journalist in the 21st Century: U.S. News People at the Dawn of a New Millennium

*Dr. Beam is also one of Forefront’s affiliated faculty members.


Peter MacDonald  Peter MacDonald  Program Manager, Xerox Services

Peter works as a program manager with experience in hospitality, transportation, program development, and operations strategy. The loss of a close friend to suicide spurred his involvement in suicide prevention previously, serving on the board of directors at the Youth Suicide Prevention Program of Washington State.


Paul Quinnett  Paul Quinnett CEO, QPR Institute

Paul is a clinical psychologist and the president and CEO of the QPR Institute. Prior to starting the QPR Institute, Paul directed a large public sector mental health program for adults and elders and maintained a limited private practice in psychotherapy.

*Dr. Quinnett is also one of Forefront’s affiliated faculty members.


Scot Simpson Scot Simpson Owner, SS Framing Company

Following the suicide of their son in 1992, Scot and his wife worked to fund the development and implementation of the Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Plan. He co-chaired the Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Committee and served on the Expert Panel for the Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Prevent Suicide” in 1999.