National Council to Honor Four Distinguished Recipients with Awards of Excellence

Peer Specialist and Lifetime Achievement Awards to be presented during NatCon23

WASHINGTON, DC (April 26, 2023) — The National Council for Mental Wellbeing will present its prestigious Awards of Excellence to four distinguished recipients during NatCon23, the organization’s annual conference and the biggest industry event in the field of substance use and mental health treatment and care.

“Of the many nominations we received for our Lifetime Achievement and Peer Specialist awards, our 2023 recipients stood above the rest for their unique talent and distinguished accomplishments,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. “The work of the dedicated people in the field of substance use and mental health treatment and care is more important than ever and it’s imperative that we show our gratitude by acknowledging their contributions.”

Juanita Price, M.Ed., and Jeffrey Reynolds, Ph.D., each will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals for their tireless efforts and commitment to improving the lives of those living with mental health and substance use challenges.

Juanita Price has served as CEO of Hillcrest Children & Family Center, a behavioral health care and social services agency in Washington, D.C., since 2009. The organization provides behavioral health treatment and prevention to individuals in need, as well as community and family support services. A nationally recognized mental health advocate for more than 40 years, Price has served previously as CEO of the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health, Community Services Agency; Connecting Point; and the Toledo Mental Health Center. Price is a trailblazer for women and African American executives in the field of mental health, as well as a highly sought-after motivational speaker and consultant in the areas of management, mental health and cultural competence.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds is president and CEO of Family and Children’s Association, which provides support services to vulnerable children, families, seniors and communities in Long Island, N.Y. His previous roles include serving as executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and vice president for public affairs at Long Island Association for AIDS Care. In 2016, Dr. Reynolds was appointed by the New York State Governor to serve on New York’s Heroin and Opioids Task Force. He is also the longest standing member of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council, serving for more than 25 years, and is currently policy committee chair of the New York State Council of Community Behavioral Health. He also co-founded BiasHELP of Long Island, an organization dedicated to assisting victims of hate crimes and their families. As BiasHELP’s chief operating officer, Dr. Reynolds secured federal, state and local grants and launched a wide array of crime victim assistance services and school-based violence prevention programs.

Deborah Carlson, CPRS, CCHW, and Michael Hovey, CRM, each will receive a Peer Specialist of the Year Award, which recognizes individuals with lived experience who work in substance use and mental health treatment and care helping clients with their recovery.

Deborah Carlson is a coordinator of peer services and peer support supervisor at Newport Mental Health Center in Middleton, R.I., which provides trauma-informed, evidence-based services to children, adolescents, families and adults who are experiencing mental illness, substance use disorders and stress in their lives and would benefit from behavioral health supports. Carlson started in peer support as a dually certified peer recovery specialist and community health worker five years ago at the Center, and over the years, has bravely championed the peer specialist role as one worthy of parity in respect, equity and ability to help heal our communities.

Michael Hovey is a patient care supervisorat Fora Health Treatment & Recovery, one of Oregon’s oldest, largest and most respected nonprofit treatment centers providing treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. He oversees the peer services program, supporting patients one-on-one by helping them prepare for the transition from structured treatment to independent recovery. Sharing his own story of self-discovery and recovery helps Hovey demonstrate to clients that they also can overcome the challenges they face. Like Hovey, many of his clients have graduated from Fora Health and gone on to lead healthy, productive lives.

Recipients of the National Council’s Awards of Excellence will be honored during a general session at NatCon23 in Los Angeles, California, where more than 5,000 health care professionals will gather to learn and network from May 1-3.

About The National Council

Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,400 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

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