Episode 44 – At the Nexus with Eli Perez

Eli Perez serves as the convener of NEXUS – a collaborative group that is working to bridge gaps in mental health to support women, youth, and individuals coming into contact with the justice system. NEXUS, which stands for Neuroscience Experts and Cross-Sector Unconventional Stakeholders, aims to bring together diverse groups of people to share ideas and create new solutions in mental health. NEXUS is powered by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

Eli serves as the Director of Patient Advocacy and Stakeholder Management at Otsuka, focusing on mental health and other CNS conditions. Eli began working in patient advocacy in order to bring his professional work closer to the communities he serves. Eli’s vision for his work is to make new connections, drive collaboration, and create solutions that address unmet needs in “patient” advocacy and professional communities.

When he’s not at work, Eli enjoys playing golf badly and watching sci-fi movies with his family. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and three kids.

Some Topics Include:

Who are some of the “unconventional” stakeholders in Nexus?

Why are Women, Youth, and Justice System the three focus areas of Nexus?

How is Nexus involved in promoting prevention?

How did Nexus pivot change its communication strategy during the pandemic?

What does healing mean to you?

Learn more at the Nexus Website

Episode 38 – The Heart of Advocacy

Leslie Carpenter is a serious brain disorders advocate who is working to improve quality of care for people with brain disorders all along the continuum of care locally, in the state of Iowa and in the country.  She also teaches NAMI Family to Family & NAMI Provider training and is an active member of her local NAMI Johnson County Board of Directors in Iowa City, Iowa.  

She and her husband, Scott, have been advocating for improvements in reimbursement rates for mental health professionals, treatment facilities, supportive community housing and ending the IMD exclusion.  They have 2 children, one of whom has a Schizoaffective Disorder combined with Anosognosia.  

They have witnessed just how traumatic it can be for someone with a serious brain disorder to get medical treatment, and want to work for improved collaboration between the patients and providers, and amongst the people involved at all levels of treatment.  

Leslie’s Famous Snickerdoodle Recipe!!!!

3 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Baking Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1 cup softened butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Oven 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Stir together flour, soda, cream of tartar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Beat butter for 30 seconds; add the 2 cups of sugar and beat till fluffy. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Add dry ingredients to mixture, beating well till well combined. Form dough into 1″ balls; roll in a mixture of the 3 teaspoons sugar and cinnamon. Place balls 2″ apart on a cookie sheet; flatten slightly. Bake in a 375 degree oven about 8 minutes or till light golden. Makes about 60!

Topics Include:

Why use the term “Brain Disorder”?

What personal interactions has she had with presidential candidates in Iowa?

How can the court system support those with who struggle with their diagnosis?

What does healing mean to you?


“Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness” by Pete Earley

“I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” by Dr. Xavier Amador

NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness. There are also links to state-specific NAMI sites

Joe Biden Mental Health Platform

Next Episode:

Parenting During a Pandemic