Avery Belyeu has been leading cause related work for over a decade. Her career spans suicide prevention and crisis intervention, public health, mental health, civil rights, and higher education with a special focus on strategic planning, organizational development, capacity building, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
Avery joined HMA Community Strategies from Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization working for full legal and lived equality for LGBTQI+ people and those living with HIV. As regional director of the organization’s South-Central Region, she spearheaded public policy and community collaboration efforts across eight states on issues impacting marginalized communities including Medicaid expansion, non-discrimination protections for those living with HIV, youth homelessness, reproductive health, and access to gender affirming care for transgender youth and adults.
At the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s public-private partnership for suicide prevention working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, Avery convened public and private sector leaders to advance projects designed to change the conversation about suicide and promoted community-based approaches to suicide prevention. Results of this work included a first of its kind national public health campaign targeting faith community leaders, release of a strategic framework for community-based suicide prevention efforts, and a report focused on middle-aged men and suicide.
At the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the implementation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, Avery provided training and technical assistance to a portfolio of federal grantees that included states and college campuses. She also led the organization’s community-based suicide prevention working group and provided strategic direction to LGBTQ+ focused suicide prevention strategy efforts.
At The Trevor Project, a national organization with the mission to end suicide among LGBTQI+ youth ages 15-24, Avery led public education, community collaboration, and awareness initiatives. Under her direction, the organization created the first suicide prevention curriculum targeting LGBTQ+ youth and their peers to be registered in the best practice registry for suicide prevention. She also created innovative digital education tools designed to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors for LGBTQ+ youth that were adopted by school districts and college campuses nationwide.
Early in her career, Avery worked in public health education and promotion at the university level with a focus on LGBTQ+ student health and wellness.
Avery studied higher education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was awarded a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University (TCU). She serves on the board of directors of the Texas Women’s Foundation.
Avery is a transgender and queer woman and is an in-demand speaker, trainer, and consultant on the topics of trans identities and workplace best practices. She identifies as a person with lived experience with homelessness and as a suicide attempt survivor. These experiences and areas of subject matter expertise shape and inform her approach to public health policy and practice.