Rebecca Palpant Shimkets is the Associate Director for The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism at The Carter Center Mental Health Program in Atlanta, Georgia. The work of the program that focuses on public policy and stigma reduction is the result of Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s advocacy on mental health issues for over 40 years. Ms. Palpant Shimkets develops and oversees a Journalism Fellowship program that awards stipends each year to professional journalists to produce a significant project on mental health or mental illnesses.
The fellowship program has resulted in fellows winning Emmy and Peabody awards and receiving nominations for the Pulitzer Prize among many others. She was instrumental in developing the program in the countries of South Africa, Romania, Colombia and most recently United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Ms. Palpant Shimkets is an active participant on advisory boards and within national and international work groups related to stigma and accurate portrayals of mental illnesses in the media. She spearheaded a special theme issue of the American Journal of Public Health on stigma reduction and social inclusion and was on the planning committee for the 7th World Psychiatric Association International Together Against Stigma Conference.
Ms. Palpant Shimkets serves as a U.S. member of the Global Alliance for Stigma Reduction. She was appointed to serve as a member of the Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms for The National Academies that produced the report “Ending Discrimination Against People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders.” Palpant Shimkets has published in Global Health Magazine, JAMA, MMWR, Huffington Post, and Everyday Health. Ms. Palpant Shimkets is married to Dr. Richard Shimkets and is step mother to two amazing boys Darien and Logan.