Here are the Past winners:
Shana Malone currently serves as the Clinical Initiatives Project Manager for AHCCCS’ Office of the Director. Among her many duties and responsibilities, Shana has personally spearheaded the Arizona Opioid State Targeted Response initiative, working across multiple sectors with amazing energy to move the needle on Arizona’s opioid crisis. Shana has a master’s degree in Human Development with a clinical specialty in family systems therapy, and completed her doctoral coursework in the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. Her academic work focused on computational social science, social and emotional development and dynamical systems applications. Prior to coming to AHCCCS, Shana was the Director of the Statistical Analysis Center at the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission where she developed the original pilot model for the Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative. Shana has worked on several local and national multi-systemic prevention and evaluation health outcome projects, and she has experience as a therapist in Arizona.
Blanca Acosta serves as the Executive Director at Constructing Circles of Peace in Nogales, Arizona. She has been working in the social and behavioral health field since 1999, where she started her service as a Health Promoter in various programs providing education, training and advocacy for low income families. Under her leadership, Constructing Circles of Peace has expanded from a small domestic violence offender treatment center, to a nationally recognized leader in restorative justice. Under Blanca, the services at Circles of Peace now include: Pre-Trial Services, Outpatient Treatment for Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse Treatment, Drug Court Program, Drug Free Communities Grant, Strengthening Families Program, and Entre Amigas Women’s Support Group. Over the course of several years, Blanca has advocated for cultural competence best practices and improved services to marginalized, Latino, Spanish-speaking women in Santa Cruz County. She has worked on the Women’s Behavioral Health Initiative of Santa Cruz County as a lead decision-maker and has advocated for the only fully inclusive and culturally sensitive, women’s support group in Santa Cruz County. She is focused on closing the women’s health and wealth gap in Santa Cruz County. She is passionate about empowering the women of SCC to reach their many diverse goals. Because of her guidance, over 50 women have directly received personal mentoring and have reached their SMART goals for the year. Some of which were to start their own business, speak English, gain employment, finish high school, and enroll in parenting classes. Blanca is a woman of passion and integrity. She never seeks recognition, awards or applause. She works tirelessly to improve the lives of the marginalized and forgotten through her programs and work at Circles of Peace. We would all do good to watch and learn from this woman. Santa Cruz County is fortunate to have a woman like Blanca Acosta.
Arizona State Senator David Bradley has been an Arizona resident for over 50 years. He was raised in Phoenix, attended high school in Tucson, and after earning his degrees while serving in the Navy, he returned to Tucson where he currently lives with his family. Dave was a member of the Arizona State Legislature from 2003 to 2011 serving District 28 in Tucson. He served on Health, Human Services, Banking and Insurance, Higher Education and various ad-hoc committees during his tenure. Currently he is serving his third term in the Arizona State Senate, serving on health, education and judiciary committees. He has received numerous awards for his advocacy of children and families during his legislative career and had the reputation for being a reasonable, thoughtful and articulate legislator who reaches across the aisle to work in the best interest of Arizona. Dave was the Chief Executive Officer of La Paloma Family Services, Inc., a nonprofit child welfare agency for over 18 years. He has been working in child welfare and mental health services for over 35 years, practicing as a licensed counselor and administrator throughout southern Arizona. He currently serves as the Chief Development Officer of La Frontera Arizona, in Tucson. He holds degrees in management, psychology and counseling and is often asked to speak to various groups about these topics as well as legislative issues confronting the State of Arizona.
Anyone in the treatment arena in Arizona likely knows the name Haley Coles, founder and Executive Director of Sonoran Prevention Works. Within only a few years, this organization has successfully collaborated with stakeholders to improve health outcomes for Arizonans that so often fall through the cracks. Though the numbers of people impacted are impressive (SPW has distributed over 25,000 naloxone kits since 2015), it is impossible to capture Haley’s impact on our community, as it is rooted in her relationships with individuals impacted by drug use including: family members, first responders, medical providers, behavioral health providers, and people who use drugs themselves. Sonoran Prevention Works was a tireless advocate in passing the naloxone legislation of 2016, and continues to push forward with bipartisan legislation to improve health outcomes and spread evidence-based practice. Many in our field have been privileged to learn from and work with Haley, who has changed the way many practice outreach with people who use drugs. In the true spirit of advocacy, her commitment to inclusion is evidenced by her ability to bring everyone to the table. Her investment in Arizona, her work ethic, and unwavering passion bring inspiration to all who meet her.
Dr. Frank Scarpati has had a brilliant and robust career, and has contributed countless hours, time and energy to leading efforts of change and innovation across our State. In 1996, Dr. Scarpati became the President/CEO of the East Valley Addiction Council, a medical detoxification unit supported by 25 employees and nurtured it into becoming Community Bridges, Inc., an Arizona private non-profit agency, currently with 750 employees who deliver Integrated Behavioral Health and Medical services throughout Arizona. Dr. Scarpati is the creator of UnScript, an integrated approach to treating the bio-psycho-social-spiritual consequences of unintentional substance dependence resulting from overutilization of prescription medication. Frank Scarpati has a Doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Southern California, a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Columbia College. He is a certified Psychotherapist; a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC); Master’s Level Addiction Counselor (State, National, and International); Compulsive Gambling Counselor; and Community College Teacher. Dr. Scarpati has also completed advanced training from the Center for Applied Science as a Relapse Prevention Specialist; the Arizona Attorney General’s Office as a Labor Relations Mediator; and a Reality Therapist Certification from the Los Angeles based Reality Therapy Institute. He maintains proficiency in the field of Addiction Treatment as a non-Physician Professional participant in the American Society of Addiction Medicine , or ASAM, and for the past five years, has served as a member of the Governance Board of Magellan Healthcare of Arizona---the Administrator of the largest public behavioral health service contract in the country.
Kathy Bashor, Leadership in Advocacy Award
Kathy Bashor serves as Manager of the Office of Individual and Family Affairs at the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) - Department of Health Care Advocacy and Advancement. She earned a Master of Counseling degree from Arizona State University and holds a B.S. in Sociology from the University of Kentucky. She is a Certified Practitioner Trainer on Readiness Assessment - Psychiatric Rehabilitation Model through Boston University and is trained in Critical Incident Stress Management-Group Crisis Intervention. She is the founder of Arizona Dialogues, which is designed to reduce stigma and increase community inclusion of persons having behavioral health challenges and is co-chair of the Arizona Stigma Reduction Initiative. Ms. Bashor is a staunch advocate of peer and family-driven care in the behavioral health system. Her can-do spirit has resulted in the strengthening of peer and family voice, assess to care, and choice in services throughout the behavioral health system. She has presented at numerous state and national conferences, has had numerous papers on Stigma published in journals, and is a recognized national, community, and peer leader.
Michael Franczak, Legacy Award
Michael Franczak currently serves as the Chief of Operations for the Marc Community Resources in Mesa, Arizona. Dr. Franczak has been involved in Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Development Disability services in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Arizona for the past 40 years. Dr. Franczak has served as an expert witness in many landmark cases concerning mental health and mental retardation and serves as an expert to the US Department of Justice. Dr. Franczak has been the primary investigator on numerous grants from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration including Housing Approaches for Persons with a Serious Mental Illness, Jail Diversion for Persons with a Serious Mental Illness, Integrated Substance Abuse Mental Health Treatment Models System of Care Practices for Children and Adolescents and Substance Abuse Services for Adolescents.
Peggy Chase, Leadership in Services Award
Peggy J. Chase is President and CEO of Terros Health, a growing integrated, whole health care company that has been helping Arizonans on their recovery journeys since 1969. Terros Health is an industry leader in substance use disorder treatment; counseling and recovery services for those challenged with mental illness; family and adolescent in-home and outpatient counseling; mobile crisis response services; HIV testing and treatment; and community prevention. Ms. Chase has been a progressive health care leader and innovator for 30 years. Her commitment to service leadership has positively impacted health care and behavioral health public policy through her participation on local, state, and national boards and committees. Recognized as a health management expert, she is often called on by other health care leaders and state agencies for her expertise on how to achieve successful outcomes. With an extensive background in finance and operations, she served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer of several companies. She also was a leader at a Regional Behavioral Health Authority, which oversaw the services and funding for Pinal and Gila counties. Ms. Chase holds a degree in social work from Arizona State University.
Benjamin Runkle, Cultural Heritage Award
Benjamin C. Runkle currently holds the position of Associate General Counsel for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the government agency responsible for administering the Medicaid and behavioral health programs for the State of Arizona. Mr. Runkle began his legal career representing criminal defense clients for Gallagher & Kennedy and later accepted an appointment as an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Arizona Attorney General. Prior to joining the legal profession, Mr. Runkle worked as a police officer and firefighter/paramedic in Indiana.
The Legacy Award for a career of behavioral health leadershipis awarded to Thelma Ross, CEO of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Greater Phoenix Area. For 28 years, Ross has provided humane, person-centered substance abuse counseling, supportive services and housing for women and families facing domestic violence and trauma. At NCADD-Phoenix, where she served as clinical director for nearly 10 years before becoming CEO in 2010, she has created and supervised a number of successful, innovative programs and advocated for evidence-based services and monitored outcomes.
The Cultural Heritage Award for bringing cultural distinction to the behavioral health field recognizes Anthony Johnson, director of social services for the Phoenix Area Colorado River Service Unit of the Indian Health Service. Johnson is also a board member of the National Association of Social Workers – Arizona Chapter. In addition to serving as a clinical provider, medical social worker and social services director, he oversees behavioral health services in numerous outlying tribal areas, where he has directly increased access to care for Native Americans in a manner consistent with cultural values and traditions.
The Leadership in Advocacy Award for championing policies that enhance behavioral health services is awarded to Emily Jenkins, president and CEO of the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers. As health care attorney, Jenkins served on the boards of Community Legal Services and Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. Her volunteer work with state and national initiatives, and as chair of the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, have improved outcomes for children affected by family violence and parental incarceration. Jenkins served on the Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence, and she now serves on St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center’s board of directors.
The Leadership in Services Award for excellence in providing behavioral health services recognizes David Rhodes, a 22-year veteran of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, where he is commander of the Detention Services Division. He is a strong supporter of decriminalizing mental illness, using trauma-aware approaches and promoting health and wellbeing among persons affected by mental illness. Rhodes has worked with community partners and the criminal justice system to develop collaborative pre-arrest and post-arrest approaches to jail diversion. He has also collaborated with other agencies to provide mental health treatment to prisoners and coordination of care from booking through release.
The Legislative Leadership Award honors Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, who has served in the Arizona Legislature, as representative and senator, for 30 years. Since her initial election to the Arizona House of Representatives three years after graduating from ASU with a degree in sociology, she has consistently advocated for access to mental health and addiction treatment, and has lent a strong and steady voice to the issues of child safety and welfare. Her legislative record reflects her dedication to education, health care and improving the safety and resilience of Arizona communities. McCune Davis also spent 12 years as a community relations specialist in behavioral health for ComCare, a former Regional Behavioral Regional Behavioral Health Authority serving Maricopa County.
Leading off this year’s awardees with the ASU Behavioral Health Advocacy Award is attorney Ms. Anne Ronan. Ms. Ronan has served on the legal staff of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest for many years and has been a tireless and relentless advocate for Arizonans experiencing mental health and substance use issues, and those involved in the criminal justice, child welfare, and other systems.
Joining Ms. Ronan will be this year’s ASU Behavioral Health Services Awardee, Dr. Teresa Bertsch. Dr. Bertsch has been the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority (NARBHA) since 1992 while concomitantly providing direct patient care, at a local mental health agency and more recently a Federally-qualified health center (FQHC).
The 2015 ASU Behavioral Health Cultural Heritage Award recognizes Mr. Derek Patton, who currently serves as the Acting Division Director for Integrated Behavioral Health for the Phoenix area Indian Health Service (IHS). Mr. Patton is a member of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. In his capacity, Mr. Patton is responsible for overseeing all urban- and reservation-based behavioral health programs administered through the Phoenix area office of IHS, encompassing ten service units, two youth regional treatment centers and a network of health care facilities spread across the states of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah and over forty tribes.
Rounding out this year’s Behavioral Health Award recipients is Mr. Neal Cash who will be presented with the ASU Behavioral Health Legacy Award. Mr. Cash has more than 35 years of service in the behavioral health care system of southern Arizona, beginning as a rehabilitation counselor, after attending graduate school at the University of Arizona, before becoming CEO of CODAC Behavioral health Services and then Community Partnership of Southern Arizona.