Meet Our Guest Speakers


Opening Address and Panel Moderator:​​


Dr. Nick Yphantides

Dr. Nick Yphantides is an advocate for those in his community who need it the most. He currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for San Diego County and its 3.3 million residents (1% of America's population). He is the Founding Co-Chair of San Diego's Childhood Obesity Initiative, was the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of one the largest network of Community Clinics in San Diego County, the CMO of the Council of Community Clinics and was the publicly elected Chairman of the Board for Palomar Health, the largest Public Hospital District in California.


Dr. Nick currently serves on several Boards including San Diego Health Connect (our regional Health Information Exchange), the San Diego County Medical Society, Champions for health and several other community based and charity organizations.



He is thankful for the fact that he has never seen a patient with private insurance in his life. As a result of his personal health transformation he now advocates for population health transformation. Dr. Nick is a cancer survivor and has been to as many countries as he is old. His daughters Veronique and Zoe are the joy of his life and they make their home in Escondido, California


Mistress of Ceremonies


Joyce Bruggeman

Joyce Bruggeman is the Executive Director of Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL). Like many who dedicate their time and energy to SOSL, she is a survivor of suicide loss.  Experiencing the devastating aftermath of suicide created a deep passion for helping others living in similar situations.   She speaks throughout Southern California to educate, enlighten, and reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues and suicide. In addition, she teaches QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Gatekeeper Training for suicide prevention throughout San Diego, facilitates mental health support groups, and is a Certified Mental Health Coach.


Panel & Breakout Session Speaker:


Sharon B. Hamill, Ph.D

Sharon B. Hamill received her BA from California State University, Long Beach; she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine. She is a Psychology and Child/Adolescent Development Professor and the Faculty Director for the CSU Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM. Her research focuses on (1) adolescent and young adult caregivers in families with grandparents who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other diseases and (2) how palliative care can alleviate suffering and promote higher quality of life for patients and their families. She is active in promoting support for family caregivers in local schools and through her work with the San Diego Coalition for Compassionate Care. Dr. Hamill was named the recipient of the 2015-2016 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award at CSUSM for excellence in teaching, research, and service.

Dr. Hamill’s current work focuses on resiliency training for young caregivers and young people who are bereaved, and making health care education for young people mainstream in palliative care. Working collaboratively with local high schools and clinically-trained colleagues, Dr. Hamill has established a youth resiliency training program that prepares peer counselors to work with caregiving youth. Additionally, she and her colleagues have created the “K-12 Toolkit: A resource for Teachers and Counselors” and What Gives Your Life Meaning (WGYLM)? A How-to Guide for Engaging Your Campus, Workplace, and Community in Discussions About Health Care Decisions” to facilitate the development of supportive communities for young caregivers and their families.


Panel & Breakout Session Speaker:


Susan D. Writer, Ph.D.

Dr. Writer has her doctorate in clinical psychology from Alliant International University. She works full time doing Community Outreach and Education for Aurora Behavioral Health Care, an acute in-patient psychiatric hospital in San Diego that treats children, adolescents, adults and seniors struggling with acute mental illness and substance abuse. She also sits on multiple community boards and coalitions, and sees patients in a private practice in Hillcrest. Dr. Writer is an expert in crisis intervention and the treatment of complex trauma, grief and loss, life transition issues, substance use, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and stress management, as well as working with families to help them navigate complex treatment systems and develop resources across different sectors of the community. She also currently lectures and consults for CAHM, SDSU, UCSD, Palomar College, and the Navy Drug and Alcohol Counselors School in Point Loma.


Panel & Breakout Session Speaker:


Mark S. Komrad, M.D., Psychiatry


Dr. Mark S. Komrad has a private practice in general psychiatry with a special interest in treating mood disorders, personality disorders and schizophrenia. His technique is to combine psychopharmacology and psychotherapy, a combination treatment that has become increasingly rare in the contemporary managed-care environment. In particular, Dr. Komrad uses these techniques to help people with serious, major mental illness rehabilitate to a higher level of functioning. Recently Dr. Komrad received the National Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.


Concluding Monologue:


Andrew Norelli

Numerous late night appearances including twice on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live," where he was booked by Jimmy himself who said "because of how few slots we have available you have to be an A++ comedian to get booked on my show, and Andrew is."


Other TV appearances include Comedy Central's “Live at Gotham,” and the nationally syndicated comedy round-table “Comics Unleashed,” where he also worked as a monologue joke writer.

A Ted Talk was recently added to his resume where he hilariously lampooned the absurdity of computer error messages.

His performance at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal was praised in Time Out New York.

International appearances include Sydney Australia’s Comedy Store where The Daily Telegraph remarked “his show features hair trigger laughs with a deadly aim, all the more so because while some comedians overestimate their own intelligence, Norelli never underestimates ours."​

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