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Mental Health Advocates Honored at 2017 APEX Awards

     

The American Psychiatric Excellence (APEX) Awards made its return this year at the November meeting of the APA Assembly, and the results were fantastic.

More than 220 members of the APA Assembly joined administration members and our honored guests for the 2017 APEX Awards luncheon, where we recognized lawmakers in Congress, public servants, and a member of the media for their extraordinary work advocating for mental health.

I had the pleasure of presenting the afternoon’s first award to Kathryn S. Farinholt, Executive Director of NAMI Maryland for her tremendous work as a mental health advocate over the years. Farinholt started her work with NAMI more than 30 years ago, and has gone on to leave her mark on countless nationally-recognized signature programs and resources at NAMI.

2017-APEX-Awards

APA Assembly Speaker Dr. Theresa Miskimen presented an APEX Award to Puerto Rico’s representative in the U.S. Congress, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colon. Resident Commissioner González-Colon was recognized for her diligent work securing relief for her constituents, including emergency medical and mental health services, in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

APA President-Elect Dr. Altha Stewart presented an award in absentia to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). Sen. Schatz was recognized for work on the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act, which was enacted in 2016, a law that helps support collaborative care models. Accepting the award on Sen. Schatz’s behalf was Dr. Aimee Grace, his Health Policy Advisor.

Assembly Speaker-Elect Dr. Bob Batterson recognized Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) for her work advocating in support of providing essential health care benefits to all Americans, including guaranteed coverage of mental health and substance use disorder treatment at parity with other medical benefits. Sen. Stabenow will receive her APEX Award in her office at a later date.

The final honoree was Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail reporter Eric Eyre, who was recognized in absentia for his Pulitzer Prize-winning work to expose the flood of opioids flowing into depressed West Virginia counties with the highest overdose death rates in the country.

I must extend a sincere thank you to all the awardees from this year’s APEX Awards, as well as to the staff that worked so hard to put on such a successful event.

The next installment of the APEX Awards will come in during Dr. Stewart’s tenure as APA President in early 2019. I hope you’ll join us as we recognize health care advocates on the national and local level, along with those on the front lines who work to combat problems like the opioid epidemic every day.

     

Post by Anita Everett, M.D.

Anita Everett, M.D. is the President of APA. Read Dr. Everett's full biography.

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