Laurie Jones is a Co-Principal Investigator (PI) on the grant funded by the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and awarded to the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital to create the Youth and Family Training Institute (YFTI). Laurie is also the Senior Director, Public Policy at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.
Laurie brings personal and professional experience to this project. Personally, she is the mother of an adult child with bipolar disorder and the grandmother of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Professionally, she has been a senior member of hospital administration(s) for over thirty years. Thinking that she was an educated consumer and an “insider” (working in a hospital), when her daughter was first diagnosed, she was very surprised to learn how difficult the behavioral health system is to navigate. Learning to advocate for her daughter led to consulting with a SAMHSA funded Allegheny County System of Care Initiative where she facilitated the strategic planning process for the development of a family organization, to support parents raising children with mental Health challenges, and became the first Board Chair of what is now Allegheny Family Network (AFN).
Since then, Laurie has directly or indirectly authored numerous grant applications that have led to the statewide development of Pennsylvania’s System of Care, to the development and implementation of training programs for youth and family peers, and in the growth and development of High Fidelity Wraparound as the preferred planning process for families raising a child or children with behavioral health challenges.