17 & 18

May 2019

Reducing Mental Health Disparities Through Sustaining and
Strengthening Healthy Communities: Increasing Knowledge through Research, Education and Practice

Elizabeth Vargas

Emmy-Award winning journalist, television anchor, and investigative reporter Elizabeth Vargas has traveled the world covering breaking news stories, reporting in-depth investigations, and conducting interviews with world leaders and other influential newsmakers. She is currently the co-anchor of “20/20” with David Muir.

Elizabeth’s childhood was beset by anxiety and she suffered from daily, debilitating panic attacks before self-medicating with alcohol as an adult. In 2014, Elizabeth revealed both her alcoholism and her anxiety disorder on national television. Since then, she has become an outspoken and impactful advocate for mental health and substance use disorder treatment. Her powerful book, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, was an instant New York Times and USA Today best-seller. Telling her story publicly in both her book and as a sought-after speaker is emblematic of her dedication to destigmatizing psychiatric illness.

In July 2003, she hosted “In the Shadow of Laci Peterson,” an ABC News special that examined the disappearances of several young women in northern California and why their stories failed to attract significant media attention. In November 2003, she anchored “Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci,” an hour investigating many theories raised in the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code.

In 2002, Vargas was the narrator of award-winning ABC News documentary series ICU, which provided a unique look at life inside one of the nation’s elite pediatric cardiology intensive care units. Vargas has anchored and reported several one-hour ABC News “Vanished” specials. Other hour-long specials include “Same-Sex Marriages,” “Surrogacy,” and “It Takes a Miracle.” She has also been involved in ABC’s Children First Program, participating in a children first safety special and in ABC’s March Against Drugs.

Other shows Vargas has previously anchored or co-anchored include World News Tonight and Good Morning America. Previously a correspondent for “20/20”, Vargas joined ABC News from NBC News, where she anchored/co-anchored Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News, and The Today Show. Vargas joined NBC News in 1993 as a correspondent for the NBC News magazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.

Prior to joining NBC News, Vargas spent four years as a reporter and anchor for WBBM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chicago. From 1986 to 1989, she was the lead reporter for KTVK-TV, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix. Earlier, she worked as a reporter/anchor for KTVN-TV, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nev.

Vargas graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO, where she began her broadcasting career as a reporter/anchor for KOMU.

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