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American Psychiatric Association Honors Washington State Senator Manka Dhingra with Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award

  • June 14, 2022

Washington, D.C., June 14, 2022 — On Tuesday, the American Psychiatric Association conferred the highest award it gives a public servant, the Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award, to Washington State Senator Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) at an event jointly hosted by the Washington State Psychiatric Society, the Washington State Medical Association and NAMI Washington. Sen. Dhingra is being honored for her tireless dedication to ensuring patients, families, and communities have access to the best possible mental health care from well-trained, high-quality providers.

Each year, APA confers the Javits Award to a federal and or state public servant who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of psychiatry and mental health advocacy. APA established the award in 1986 in honor of Senator Javits, who represented New York State in the U.S. Senate from 1957 to 1981.

“Sen. Dhingra’s relentless advocacy has led to the passage of critical mental health policies benefitting patients throughout the state of Washington,” said APA President Rebecca Brendel, M.D., J.D. “Her outstanding leadership has helped create a framework for 9-8-8 and the crisis response system in Washington, improve mental health directives, and reform the criminal justice system.”

“I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” said Dhingra. “None of us do this work by ourselves, and I am truly grateful for all the incredible partners who have helped destigmatize mental illness, reduce barriers to access and bring mental wellness into our lives. While there is much more work to be done, with all your support we can ensure that all Washingtonians receive the services and support they need when they need them.”

Dhingra is the first Sikh state legislator elected in the country. In addition to being the deputy majority leader of the senate, she also serves as the senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She is a mental health and crisis intervention professional and has assisted in developing the Regional Mental Health Court, the Veterans Court, and the Community Assessment and Referral for Diversion program. In her various roles, she has provided crisis intervention training for law enforcement officers to increase efficacy and safety when responding to those in crisis. Dhingra is also a community leader working to end poverty and support survivors of domestic violence.

“Psychiatrists simply cannot be as effective as they are without the tireless work of mental health champions like Sen. Dhingra,” said Thomas Soeprono, M.D., president of the Washington State Psychiatric Association. “She has strengthened community transitions, eased integration with the Involuntary Treatment Act, and established a statewide Office for Behavioral Health Ombuds, all huge accomplishments that empower our work to reach the vulnerable mentally ill.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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