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Tom Insel, MD

Vanna Health Co-Founder & Executive Chair

Tom Insel, MD, psychiatrist and neuroscientist, is a national leader in mental health research, policy, and technology. From 2002 to 2015, Dr. Insel served as director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). More recently, he led the Mental Health Team at Verily (2015–17); co-founded Mindstrong Health (2017–19), a start-up building tools for people with serious mental illness; and served as a special advisor on behavioral health issues to California Governor Gavin Newsom (2019). In 2020, he co-founded Humanest Care, a therapeutic online community for recovery.

In 2022, Dr. Insel joined Vanna Health as co-founder and executive chair. Vanna Health is a start-up helping people with serious mental illness engage in psychosocial supportive care. He currently serves on the boards of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Fountain House, Schaeffer Center for Health Policy, and the Steinberg Institute (chair, 2019–22). He also serves as advisor to several mental health start-ups (including Alto Neuroscience, Cerebral, Compass Pathways, Owl Insights, Koa Health, and Valera Health). He is the author of Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health (Penguin Random House, 2022). With journalist co-founders, he launched MindSite News (, a nonprofit digital publication focused on mental health issues. Dr. Insel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received numerous national and international awards, including honorary degrees in the U.S. and Europe. Learn more at

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