Director, Mental Health Initiative, Open Society Institute, Budapest, Hungary
Judith E. Klein, J.D., has been the Director of the Open Society Mental Health Initiative (MHI) since 2000, and has worked as a consultant for The Open Society Institute (OSI) on mental disability since 1995. In 1995, she directed a pioneering advocacy project which aimed to dismantle the entrenched institutional system in Hungary and promote the establishment of community-based services for people with mental disabilities. She now manages a team and MHI works in 23 countries of Central Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States. MHI aims to ensure that people with mental disabilities are able to live as equal citizens and actively participate in society which fully respects their basic human rights. A number of MHI supported projects across the region have had significant impact on the development of health and social welfare policies and governmental financing mechanisms. MHI also works with media and NGOs on raising public awareness to challenge the stigma and prejudice faced by people with mental disabilities, and engages policy makers to ensure that mental disabilities feature prominently on the international human rights agenda. Prior to working at OSI, Judith Klein, a member of the State Bars of Florida and Michigan, represented people with mental disabilities in guardianship and involuntary detention hearings in the United States.
Competing Interests/Conflicts of Interest: None to declare in the past year.