NYAPRS Board Announces 2013 Award Honorees

The NYAPRS Board of Directors has selected the following extraordinary group of movement heroes as this year’s award honorees. They were chosen from an equally impressive group of nominees.
Many of the honorees will receive their awards at this year’s NYAPRS Annual Conference, to be held IN JUST TWO WEEKS at the Hudson Valley Resort from August 10-12.
There’s still time to purchase an ad in the conference journal to congratulate the winners; contact Mary at mary@nyaprs.org.
Register today to be part of this extraordinary celebration of our leaders and our inspiration and information packed program at https://registration.nyaprs.org/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/event/info&id=8&reset=1!



The Brendan Nugent Leadership Award is presented to an inspiring consumer leader in promoting and advocating for the empowerment of people with psychiatric disabilities in New York State.  

Jody has over 20 years of experience in advocating for the New York peer community and has always worked tirelessly to bring new and innovative recovery approaches to the forefront.

Jody’s recovery journey brought her to make important contributions to thousands of peers in her work for Fountain House, Venture House and Community Access and as a past co-President of NYAPRS before coming to serve as Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Most recently, she has been instrumental in the development of crisis respite services and a peer run warm line in New York City. She participates generously on a number of City and community based recovery initiatives and always insures the consumer perspective has a place at the table. Jody's advocacy skills are based in true compassion and care for everyone. She projects a warm, cheerful attitude to everyone she meets and is especially gifted at resolving conflicts and handling other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact.

Jody is returning to her home state of New Jersey to take the helm of Collaborative Support Programs, a $14 million agency that is nationally known for its work in promoting wellness (Peggy Swarbrick), employment, housing and peer support.

FRANCES Olivero ADVOCACY AWARD   Michael Skinner
The Frances Olivero Advocacy Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated inspiring community leadership and unique contributions in advocacy around a particular issue on behalf of New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities. 

You may recognize Michael as the longstanding, loving host of our conference’s Open Mike program for the past decade.

Michael has approached his work supporting those who are healing from trauma, abuse and mental health conditions in two ways: as a singer/songwriter/guitarist who has performed widely and has released several CDs, including ‘Train of Tears’, and as a popular public speaker at conferences, training seminars, and events all over the country

Michael is also President of the Consumer Advisory Council to the Disability Rights Center, as well as an active member of the Coalition on Family Law and Mental Illness.

In the words of his daughter Alisa, “I am amazed at my father's strength to handle what he has gone through and turn out so well. He is a hero to make good of what he came from and turn his life around.”

The Public Education Award is presented to an individual inside or outside of the media who has demonstrated extraordinary public education efforts that advance the needs of and/or that highlight the accomplishments of New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities. 

Almost singlehandedly for the past 30 years, Jean Arnold has surveyed news, media outlets, radio and television, print and digital and kept a fine eye and ear on the political events that realign or stigmatize people struggling for mental health. In 1999 she went on-line with the Stigma Clearinghouse. Since then her work has been a valuable resource for her own well-crafted editorials as well as to archive and make available the essential writings of others.

A leader in the movement to end pernicious, malicious, ill informed, damaging and plainly insensitive writing and mischaracterization, she has waged a battle on behalf of all people in recovery, seeking justice in New York and nationwide.

Jean Arnold is a treasure bringing together activists, advocates, consumers, families and all seeking justice and fairness. Her influence is apparent in the numbers she continues to reach with her well-timed Stigma Alerts. She deserves to be recognized for this valuable work, for the model of her tenacity, her amazing heart and lifetime of dedication.

The Public Policy Leadership Award is presented to a legislator who has demonstrated outstanding public leadership on behalf of New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities.          
Jim Introne

James E. Introne recently retired from his post as Governor Cuomo’s Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services, which capped a long and distinguished career in public service that included Deputy Director of the New York State Division of Budget, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and, from 1981 to 1982, as Director of State Operations for Governor Hugh Carey. He has also served as President & CEO of ArchCare (formerly the Catholic Health Care System (CHCS) of the Archdiocese of New York), President of Loretto, Central New York’s largest provider of comprehensive services to elderly individuals and as a board member of United Cerebral Palsy of New York City and the Continuing Care Leadership Coalition, the New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging, the National Chronic Care Consortium, and the New York Public Health Council.

Jim will always be remembered and appreciated for his unswerving commitment to assuring that adult home residents are afforded their right and the support necessary to live independently in the community, along with his strong support for recovery centered NYS Medicaid Redesign and the long sought plan to downsize NY’s state hospital system.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD   Sally Zinman, Pat Deegan, Gayle Bluebird
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has a long record of exemplary contributions to the recovery, rehabilitation and/or rights of New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities.   
Sally Zinman

Sally is considered one of the pioneering leaders of the consumer/survivor and recovery movements.  Her lifetime of contributions includes:

  • Founder and Coordinator of the Mental Patient’s Rights Association in Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Co-editor of Madness Network News, which was the journalistic voice of the mental patient movement from 1973-1987.
  • Co-author, ‘Reaching Across’, the first SAMHSA manual (providing information about self-help and how to operate a self-help support group)
  • Founding Member of the Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients
  • Founding Member, Facilitator and Executive Director of the California Network of Mental Health Clients
  • Founder and Coordinator of the Coalition for Alternatives in Mental Health, aka Berkeley Drop-In Center.
  • Interim Executive Director, California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations

Gayle Bluebird

Gayle Bluebird has been involved in the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement since it began in the early 1970’s. Her lifetime of contributions includes:

  • Working in psychiatric hospitals as a nurse while healing herself personally in a variety of settings.
  • Helping to support the “Network Against Psychiatric Assault,” an organization of ex-patients that protested harmful and abusive treatment and practices in mental health facilities
  • Using her experience working in psychiatric hospitals to develop alternatives to seclusion and restraint.
  • Creating Broward County, Florida’s Office of Consumer Affairs and a team of consumers who were hired to facilitate satisfaction focus groups in all of the community mental health agencies and inpatient facilities.
  • Developing comfort rooms at Florida State Hospital in 1998 and developing tools for their replication in other hospitals throughout the country.
  • Created a guidebook “Reaching Across with the Arts”, a how-to guide for creating arts programs in consumer-operated programs. She wrote this and other guide on “Participatory Dialogues” with funds from the federal government, CMHS/SAMHSA.
  • Creating the Center for Peer Networking at the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
  • Writing a guidebook for peer specialists, “Paving New Ground” with an accompanying DVD
  • Working with the state of Delaware to help develop their peer roles and create comfort rooms among other activities at Delaware State Hospital.

Pat Deegan

Patricia E. Deegan Ph.D is an activist in the disability rights movement and has lived her own journey of recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager.

She is one of the consumer/survivor and recovery movement’s most inspiring leaders and strategic thinkers.

Over the last 2 decades, she has launched a variety of foundational themes and projects including

  • the ‘Conspiracy of Hope,’
  • the State Hospital Cemetery and Oral History projects
  • Hearing Voices workshops
  • Personal Medicine approaches
  • The Recovery Library and
  • most recently CommonGround, a web application to support shared decision making in the psychopharmacology consultation that was recognized by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as a practice innovation.

Pat is currently focused on her work as an independent consultant who specializes in researching and lecturing on the topic of recovery and the empowerment of people diagnosed with mental illness.  She is an Adjunct Professor at Dartmouth College School of Medicine and at Boston University, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Joseph Woodward, Housing Options Made Easy
Amy Kohn, Mental Health Association of Westchester
The Marty Smith Memorial Award is presented to a uniquely inspired and dedicated provider who has demonstrated exemplary contributions to the advancement of best practices in service to New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities. 

Joseph M. Woodward by Laura Bentley, Program Director, HOME

For the past seven years, Joseph M. Woodward has been the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of Housing Options Made Easy, Inc. (Housing Options). This recovery oriented peer agency provides supportive housing and advocacy training for individuals with mental health issues. Joe represents, develops, implements, and coordinates a comprehensive and effective $4 million, 400 bed, 48 staff, regional mental health peer-governed agency.

Housing Options serves six counties throughout Western New York with offices in Gowanda, Jamestown, Dunkirk, Olean, Rochester, and Buffalo Services include supported housing, a multi-county recovery center, transitional youth programs, hospital diversion apartments, peer advocacy services, advocacy training, self-help support groups, job training, and community empowerment programs.

Housing Options has doubled in size under Joe’s leadership. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) features Housing Options as a potential best practice in Supportive Housing for Homeless Families with Mental Illness.

Most recently, Joe and HOME designed and developed an innovative Recovery Center called Southern Tier Recovery Activities Without Walls.

Joe is on the Board of Directors for New York Care Coordination, Inc. He chairs the Recovery Initiative in Cattaraugus County and is the co-chair of New York State’s Recipient Affairs Committee. He also serves on numerous state and countywide steering committees, and was just named as one of the chairs of the Western Region Regional Centers of Excellence team.

Joe is widely known for his great devotion and dedication to people in recovery and for his open, transparent personal style.  

Amy Kohn and Mental Health Association of Westchester

Dr. Amy Kohn, President and CEO of the MHA of Westchester and her staff have long been recognized for their uniquely inspired and dedicated provider who has made exemplary contributions to the advancement of best practices in service to New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities. 

MHA Westchester has balanced its service provision with treatment, rehabilitation and self-help services readily available to the community. Knowing that there is never only one way to recovery and that people utilize different aspects of the continuum of care at different times of their lives, MHA has provided, clinic, ACT, case management and care coordination, advocacy, clubhouse and employment services.

In 2008 MHA embarked on an agency-wide transformation, embracing social inclusion, self-direction and recovery-oriented values and practice. They have valued lived experience as a qualification for employment throughout their agency and work collaboratively with local peer operated agencies. MHA Westchester has scrutinized all their policies and procedures to assure that they are respectful, engaging, using person first language and valuing the lived experience as a major qualification for doing this work.

Through all their programs, but especially the Recovery Center and the Sterling Community Center, MHA Westchester provides a strong foundation of recovery resources, training and support, hope and encouragement and a belief that attaining valued life goals and dreams is possible for everyone.

Amy and the MHA of Westchester are currently taking the lead in networking with local Health Homes and managed care companies, while never forgetting the vision, mission and values that were developed so long ago when they first became a place for people with mental health issues to come to and feel connected to others and to their community.

The Muriel Shepherd Partners with Families Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated inspiring leadership in the advancement of the alliance of families and consumers in promoting the recovery, rehabilitation and rights of people with psychiatric disabilities.   

In his 2 decades of service to people with psychiatric disabilities and their families, Glenn has always led with his heart, his compassion and intelligence.

As a policy staffer with NAMI-NYS in the early 1990’s, he helped organize family support for the successful campaign for Community Reinvestment Act.

As NAMI-NYS executive director, Glenn led New York’s family movement to promote a strong recovery and rights based agenda.

Throughout his years at NAMI, Glenn worked closely with Muriel Shepherd; they were highly regarded by state legislators as a passionate inseparable team in their bi-weekly legislative lobbying sessions in Albany. Throughout the years, Glenn has continued to stay in touch and visit and support Muriel through a number of challenges.

And, as MHANYS CEO, Glenn has worked tirelessly for a broad array of funding, legislative, programmatic and training initiatives to advance the recovery of children, youth, families, adults, seniors, adult home residents and parents with psychiatric disabilities.

For Glenn, recovery is a personal matter effecting a member of his family. He has exemplified a spirit of great devotion and a willingness to openly share his family’s experience to educate the public and to fight stigma and discrimination.  

The Jason Brody Award is presented to an individual who has been an extraordinary source of kindness, caring and devotion to people within their mental health community.

Over the past 20 years, Bill Gamble has worked tirelessly to help people to stand up for their rights and take back their power. When you talk to Bill, you can expect to have conversations that include his own struggles, flaws and hard lessons.  His transparency has meant so much to so many, allowing people to open up, take a deep breath and realize they aren’t alone in the world when he starts to share

Bill has worked in several different capacities in the field of peer support and one thing remains constant - his commitment to the people he meets around the state and his willingness to always be there for them. Bill is a quiet hero to so many people who need advice on an advocacy issue, are looking for support during a struggle or need someone to believe in them when they stop believing in themselves.

Being the center of attention and getting recognition is not at all what Bill strives for. That’s why so many people don’t know much about him. He exemplifies everything that this award stands for.

Quincy Boykin Memorial Award   Ulysses Harrell
The Quincy Boykin award is presented to a person in heartfelt recognition of your inspiring contributions to the recovery, empowerment, integration and inclusion of all New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities  

Ulysses Harrell spent his childhood and adolescent years in psychiatric institutions and went on to overcome the challenges of deinstitutionalization and homelessness in the 1970s to become a highly regarded peer advocate and voice of peers everywhere.

An African American, Ulysses tells the compelling story of his growing up in psychiatric hospitals in New York State, the social isolation he endured, the often mistreatment by an all-white staff, and his discharge with no survival skills in a documentary film produced in 1995 with support from the NYS Office of Mental Health, the Monroe County Office of Mental Health, and the NYS Multicultural Advisory Committee. The film has been used, with Ulysses as a group facilitator, across New York State, in Pennsylvania, Washington State, and throughout the South as a jumping off point for discussion of such issues as abuse, the effect of family addictions, abandonment due to perceived mental and emotional issues, support and self-determination, and systems issues related to psychiatric hospitalization.

Ulysses went on to earn an associate’s degree in the Counseling Department at Broome Community College and later earned Bachelors and Master Degrees in Social Work from State University College at Brockport and the State University at Albany.

Ulysses came to the attention of the NYS Office of Mental Health through his work with the local Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee. In 1994 he was appointed OMH Multicultural Recipient Administrator and served in that post for five years, establishing linkages with the counties and various consumer groups to increase multicultural awareness in relationship to mental health needs.

Ulysses came to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center in 1999 as Director of Peer Advocacy. Recently, he also has become the first recipient trainer for the NYS OMH Preventing and Managing Crisis Situations program.

Ulysses’ work over the years has been recognized by a variety of groups, including recognition for Outstanding Dedication and Leadership with the NYS OMH Multicultural Advisory Committee in 2010. The Mental Health Empowerment Project gave him the Most Courageous Advocate of the Year Award in 1998.