Gold Medalist Aly Raisman & Philanthropists Jamee and Peter Gregory Honored at 16th Annual HOPE Luncheon Seminar
Our warmest thanks to the 300 supporters who came out for our Sixteenth Annual HOPE Luncheon Seminar on Wednesday, November 9. The event raised over $500,000 for HDRF’s research and received excellent coverage, including People and Good Day New York. The Luncheon had a meaningful discussion on a major topic of our time: “Teens and Depression: Addressing the Youth Mental Health Crisis.”
HDRF Founder and Chair Audrey Gruss presented Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman with the 2022 HOPE Award for Depression Advocacy. Aly took to the stage and spoke candidly about her experience with depression as a teen.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of talking about mental health in schools, in sports, so that kids can ask important questions…Because without creating a safe environment, where kids feel they can ask questions, the problem is going to continue to perpetuate” Aly said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Angela Diaz, acclaimed Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, gave an overview of the increase in depression in teenagers and what adults can do to recgnize the illness and help teens feel safe to confide their feelings.
Louisa Benton, HDRF Executive Director, and Dr. Jonathan Javitch, a psycho-pharmacologist from Columbia University and member of the HDRF Depression Task Force (DTF), then discussed the incredible research breakthroughs of the DTF.
“The DTF is leading the field in the study of brain circuits and molecules that underlie depression,” Benton said. As a result, HDRF has a potential new category of medication in pilot clinical trials at Mount Sinai and Columbia, with a new site recently added at Stanford University.
Dr. Javitch said, “Advances in technology are making it possible to identify, treat and track the signs of depression more precisely than ever before. We are finally able to imagine an era of precision medicine, precision psychiatry, where we can actually give a patient a treatment that is specific to the underlying biology of their depression.”
Jamee and Peter Gregory accepted the 2022 HOPE Community Award for their transformational gift to HDRF’s New Treatment Initiative. Jamee and Peter’s speech, which touched on the impact of depression in their own extended family, moved many to tears and received a standing ovation.
Peter Gregory said, “I’m convinced that the Hope for Depression Research Foundation is going to be at the forefront of wonderful new discoveries, which maybe not in my lifetime, but I hope in my daughter’s lifetime, will alleviate this horrible illness and make it something of the past.”
Heartfelt thanks to our 16th Anniversary Seminar Master of Ceremonies, Chuck Scarborough, and our Co-chairs: Susan Gutfreund, Maru Hagerty, Kim Heirston, Tania Higgins, Eleanora Kennedy, Margo Langenberg, Susan R. McCaw, Kitty and Bill McKnight, Peter S. Paine III, Nancy Silverman, Barbara and Randall Smith and Scott Snyder.
HDRF also acknowledges our generous sponsors!