ASU announces 2016 Arizona Behavioral Health Awards honorees

The awards, which honor people who have demonstrated dedication to improving behavioral health in Arizona, will be presented at CABHP's 12th Annual Arizona Behavioral Health Awards Gala on July 21 at the Sedona Hilton Resort and Conference Center. The event co-occurs with the center's 17th Annual Summer Institute conference July 19-22. Gala tickets are still available at

ASU congratulates this year’s recipients:

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 a 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 Health Authority serving Maricopa County.