The 117th Congress marked an important milestone for the Meadows Institute: the first time the Institute engaged on the national stage in earnest. Over the year, it became apparent that our data-driven, bipartisan perspective is becoming increasingly vital in helping guide decision-making at a national level.
In the spring of 2022, the Institute’s reputation and strong partnerships with groups like the American Psychiatric Association and The Commonwealth Fund brought us directly into national discussions on mental health care reform, specifically on the topic of parity. Andy Keller was called to testify before the Senate Finance Committee, marking his second Senate testimony this Congress – an almost unprecedented number of requests for an organization with our brief history of national engagement.
In late May, our federal involvement was deepened in the wake of the Uvalde mass shooting tragedy. U.S. Senator John Cornyn was given the lead, along with Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, to bring Congress and the President together in response. On the Friday of the week after the shooting, Senator Cornyn asked the Meadows Institute to brief his full staff with a simple direction: explain where our system failed and what can be done to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again. Our close work supporting the Senator’s team and partners in Washington, D.C., ultimately helped give shape to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, legislation that Senator Cornyn described as, “the single largest investment in mental health in our nation’s history.”
Later that year, when Congress took on the complicated task of reshaping crisis response, the Institute was again honored to play a leading role. That work positioned us to help lead efforts to pass the Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act, which required the Department of Justice to establish standards for crisis response and de-escalation training for the first time. Senator Cornyn recognized the Meadows Institute’s work on the Senate floor during passage.
By the time 2022 and the 117th Congress drew to a close, the Institute was intimately involved in advising members of Congress on the year-end Consolidated Appropriations Act, or omnibus bill. The final legislation included over 20 of the Institute’s key priorities, including grants to support collaborative care initiatives, funding for mobile crisis response based on language we provided, programs to support maternal mental health, a host of children’s mental health initiatives, and much more.
While firmly rooted in Texas, the Institute was always intended to positively impact mental health care nationally and will continue to share insights, data, and knowledge on important mental health-related issues to help inform the nation.
Our close work supporting the Senator’s team and partners in Washington, D.C., ultimately helped give shape to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, legislation that Senator Cornyn described as, “the single largest investment in mental health in our nation’s history.”
Our data-driven, bipartisan perspective is becoming increasingly vital in helping guide decision-making at a national level.