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Saturday, September 12, 2020  “A Celebration of NAMI Florida”

Advancing Mental Health in the State of Florida Legislature

September 12, 2020   10:00 AM

Join state legislator, David Smith, 28th Legislative District and Gayle Giese, NAMI Florida Board Member and President of the Florida Mental Health Advocacy Coalition, as they discuss the mental health of Florida residents and explore best practice models to improve mental health care delivery.

Rep Smith

David Smith

Florida House of Representatives, District 28

State Representative David Smith was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018 and is a business consultant in Central Florida. Representative Smith retired from the United States Marine Corp with the rank of Colonel, flying 52 combat missions in Iraq.  He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit (2), Meritorious Service Medal (3), Air Medal “V” (2), Navy Commendation Medal (3), Navy Achievement Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment (6).

As a representative for parts of Seminole County, the Representative Smith is currently a member of the  Business & Professions Subcommittee, Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee, Public Integrity & Ethics Committee and Transportation & Tourism and the Appropriations Subcommittee.  He is involved in several community and civic organizations, to include:  Rotary Club International, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation, Leadership Orlando Class #78 and Leadership Seminole Class #26.


Gayle Geise

President, Florida Mental Health Advocacy Coalition

 Gayle Geise is Chair and a founding member of the NAMI Advocacy Group of Broward County and President of the Board of the Florida Mental Health Advocacy Coalition, which she helped to found. She is passionate about helping those with mental illness and their families and speaks openly about serious mental illness within her family. She advocates to provide safe affordable permanent supportive housing, insurance parity for mental health services, certified peer specialists, more and better-funded FACT teams, more psychiatric treatment beds, mobile response teams, centralized receiving centers, and other vital services, First Episode Psychosis Programs and Medicaid Expansion. In 2019, she won an EPIC (Exceptional People Impacting the Community) Award from Mental Health America of Southeast Florida.  She is currently restarting the national Stepping Up Initiative with the Broward County NAMI Advocacy Group, to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

 NAMI Vision for the Future

Daniel Gillison



Dan Gillison brings expertise in non-profit leadership and a passion for advocating for people with mental illness to NAMI. Before coming to NAMI, Dan led the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF), where he was responsible for strategic planning, personnel management, board communications, oversight of APAF’s public education programs and outreach, and formulating strategic alliances and partnerships to further APAF’s mission. Prior to APAF, Gillison led County Solutions and Innovation for the National Association of Counties (NACo) where he was instrumental in repositioning the organization’s programs to provide expertise in health and human services, justice and public safety. 

Dan has over 30 years of experience and has previously held leadership positions at Xerox, Nextel, and Sprint. Dan holds a B.A. from Southern University and A&M College.

A Year in Review and Awards Ceremony


April Chambers

NAMI FL President

April Chambers is a marketing leader in strategy, development, implementation, integration and team building in the marketing technology landscape. April is a proven leader with highly developed business skills. She has extensive experience across banking, construction, retail, consulting, and themed entertainment industries. April is the current President of the NAMI Florida Board of Directors.

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