Education and Past Experience


Following an undergraduate degree in philosophy and a master's in theology, Dr. Kelly attended Vanderbilt University and in 1990 received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Prior to directing the DePree Center Public Policy Institute, he held clinical psychology faculty positions at Vanderbilt University, American University, and Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. Dr. Kelly has served on the Boards of Directors for both the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and the National Research Institute, as well as numerous state commissions, councils and task forces. He is a member of the American College of Mental Health Administration, the American Psychological Association, and the American Public Health Association.


Dr. Kelly served as Commissioner for Virginia's Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services from 1994-1997, appointed by the state's governor, directing an agency with over 10,000 employees and a budget of over $500 million. He instituted a number of needed reforms such as measuring treatment outcomes in order to improve quality of care. During his tenure the state began shifting away from “custodial care” — ineffective cycle of inpatient/outpatient services — and towards the “recovery model”— innovative, evidence-based treatments designed to enable persons with mental illness to thrive in their home community.


Dr. Kelly served as Executive Director for Congress's National Gambling Impact Study Commission. In 1999, after two years of hearings and research, the Commission's report on the social and economic impacts of legalized gambling in America went to the President and Congress. The report, the most comprehensive analysis of gambling to date, sparked a national and international dialogue on the hidden costs of legalized gambling such as the growing problem of gambling addiction. This dialogue has slowed gambling expansion both in the US and in other countries.


Dr. Kelly's book, book chapters and articles have been published by university presses, professional psychology journals, public policy think tanks, and leading papers such as the Washington Post. He has provided expert testimony numerous times to state and federal legislative committees, as well as to various TV and radio interviewers.