Zero Suicide: An International Declaration for Better Healthcare

By September 4, 2016Events

Please register via HKU Event Management System

Speaker: David Covington (CEO and President of RI International)
Date : Sept 20, 2016 (Tuesday)
Time : 17:30 – 18:30
Venue : Chamber, 11/F, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Jockey Club Tower, The University of Hong Kong.


In 2001, the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan adopted a comprehensive approach to suicide care that they called the Perfect Depression Care initiative—a systematic quality-improvement program that reduced suicide deaths among people receiving care by over 75%. Many of these individuals had a severe and persistent mental illness, and a hazard ratio for suicide 12 to 20 times greater than the general population. Henry Ford pursued defect-free care on each of the dimensions of the quality chasm framework (all care should be safe, effective, efficient, timely, patient-centered and equitable).

Today, more than 200 healthcare organizations in the U.S., with others in Canada, the Netherlands and United Kingdom, have already put Zero Suicide programs in place. What makes these programs different? They are driven by organizational leadership and eschew incremental change and envision “perfect care.” They include individuals with personal experience of suicide attempts in their design and implementation. And, they reject myths that suicide is an inevitable clinical outcome for some individuals.

Mr. Covington will review the history of this international movement, describe its mission and framework and explore the challenges and results. It’s about a new paradigm in suicide care, one in which suicide prevention is a central goal for healthcare systems.

About the speaker

David Covington, LPC, MBA serves as CEO and President of RI International, is a partner in Behavioral Health Link and leads the international initiatives “Crisis Now” and “Zero Suicide.” He is a two-time national winner of the Council of State Governments Innovations Award, in 2008 with the Georgia Crisis & Access Line and again in 2012 with Magellan Health. For five consecutive years, he competed as a national finalist in innovations award competitions, including Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government in 2009, and was featured in Business Week magazine (Innovate Timeline)[].

He is an acclaimed global speaker (Where in the World Is? []), with top-ranked TED-style Talks and conference keynotes. Readers of his healthcare innovation blog represent 90 countries. Previously he served as Vice-President at Magellan Health responsible for the administrative, clinical, financial and programmatic operations of the $750 million per year health plan contract with Arizona Medicaid and the Department of Health Services.

Mr. Covington has served on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Executive Committee since it was created in 2010, co-chairing task forces on clinical care and crisis services (Research Publications []). He is the Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline SAMHSA Steering Committee, and served as Vice-Chair from 2005 until 2016. He has served as the Clinical Division Chair of the American Association of Suicidology since 2014. He served on the National Council for Behavioral Health Board of Directors from 2011 to 2014 and the Relias Learning Behavioral Health Advisory Board from 2014 to 2016.

Mr. Covington’s management history also includes CEO of Behavioral Health Link and Director of Public Sector Quality Management at APS Healthcare. He is a licensed professional counselor and has an MBA from Kennesaw State and a Master’s of Science from the University of Memphis. His personal achievements include the 2008 Boston marathon and 2013 Fear Factor [].

Please register via HKU Event Management System

Enquiries: Please contact Mr. Rickey YAU at or 28315232