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ADM Board Honors Four Trailblazers at Luncheon


ADM Board Honors Four Trailblazers at Luncheon

2011 Trailblazer Recipients: front row, left to right: Lauren Munk,

Christopher McGowan; back row, left to right: Garrett Hart, Michael S. Woody,

and Tommy Bruno


The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADM) Services Board paid tribute to four local trailblazers at their appreciation luncheon on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. Those who received awards include: Christopher McGowan, MPS, ATR,  Michael S. Woody,  Lauren Munk, LSW, OCPS II, and the radio station 91.3 The Summit.

In 2007, the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADM) Services Board established awards in honor of five individuals who are recognized as being trailblazers and advocates in the mental health and addiction services field. This award process is intended not only to honor the original trailblazers which included Drs. Fred and Penny Frese, Maggie Carroll Smith, Sr. Mary Ignatia and Dr. Bob Smith, but also to provide a forum to recognize individuals who emulate their example and service.

The Maggie Carroll Smith Award
The 2011 Maggie Carroll Smith Award was presented to Christopher McGowan, MPS, ATR, Director of Outpatient Psychiatric Services at Akron General Medical Center.  Twenty-four colleagues at Akron General Medical Center nominated Christopher for this award. He is described as the epitome of a tireless advocate for people with mental illness who consistently strives to improve access to care. He is a change-agent focused on results as he increases services provided for patients with a history of prudent management and successful numbers in support of his ideas for expansion.

As Director of Outpatient Psychiatric Services at Akron General Medical Center since 1993, Christopher has steadily expanded the department’s services including Urgent Behavioral Evaluation Team (UBET), Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient (IOP), expansion to other sites and innovative treatment modalities supported by research. The Urgent Behavioral Evaluation Team was created by Christopher in 2003 in response to an identified community need for timely access to care. This unique service has fielded over 5,000 calls from the community where callers are directed to the most appropriate level of care or the information or resources they are seeking. Since 1993, the partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs have served over 6,000 clients with group psychotherapy and medication management. Christopher expanded IOP services to a satellite at the Health and Wellness Center in Montrose and is currently investigating the further expansion to other sites within the system. The innovative programming available includes research grounded therapies such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. 

His leadership extends to the national level as well where he is now in his 3rd year  as President of the Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Health where he has been active in national advocacy for security of benefits for people with mental illness. Because of his expertise and successful program expansion locally, he is consulted to help create and assist other programs nationwide. Christopher’s colleagues describe him as having the right combination of passion and humor which, in addition to his extensive knowledge, has made him a well-respected expert in the field of outpatient psychiatry. He is straightforward and tireless in his dedication to influence the health care policy on behalf of those receiving and providing mental health care.

Maggie Carroll Smith was admired for being a tireless advocate on behalf of those who have a mental illness and their families and worked to make the mental health system more responsive and mental illness and their families and worked to make the mental health system more responsive and accountable.  Recipients of this award have demonstrated a passion for people in recovery and have served as a change agent focused on results. 

Drs. Fred and Penny Frese Award
This year’s award recipient, Lt. Michael S. Woody, retired from the Akron Police Department in 2002 after 25 years of service. His last 4 years was spent as the Director of Training for the Department. He graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree and was a secondary education school teacher before becoming a police officer.

 Mr. Woody is credited with bringing the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program to Ohio in 2000 (notably making Summit County the first in Ohio to develop a CIT program) and helping to spread it throughout the state.  CIT training is a forty-hour training for law enforcement personnel where participants learn how to recognize and effectively respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis. The class teaches techniques for de-escalating crises with the goal of helping to direct persons with mental illness into treatment instead of inappropriate incarceration.
 Over the last 10 years, nearly 500 local law enforcement officers have completed the training. Summit County’s program serves as a model program and has been visited by representatives from other national and international sites.

Mr. Woody is associated with The Northeast Ohio Medical University’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence as its law enforcement liaison and serves as the CIT Coordinator for the state of Ohio. He has consulted with police, mental health, and advocacy organizations throughout the country. He sits on the Ohio Supreme Court’s “Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts.”  and is on the Advisory Board of The National CIT Organization.
In 2005 the First National CIT Conference was held in Columbus, Ohio with nearly 700 persons attending. Lt. Woody coordinated this historical event. Lt. Woody has consulted with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Council of State Governments, National NAMI and the GAINS Center. He has received the National “Compassion in Law Enforcement Award,” the Summit County, Ohio, Mental Health Association’s “Heart of Gold Award,” and the Ohio Department of Mental Health “Forensic Leadership Award.”

Individuals nominated for the Frese award have helped to educate others and decrease the stigma that affects those with mental illness and addiction and Mike has been dedicated to both for well over 10 years.

Sister Mary Ignatia Award
Sister Mary Ignatia was known for her belief in the human spirit and quiet compassion which benefited countless people. Individuals nominated for this award are known for their compassion, have not sought the spotlight, but will have made contributions “behind-the scenes.”  This description compelled Community Health Center (CHC) to nominate Lauren Munk, LSW, OCPS II ,Prevention Coordinator at Community Health Center, as an excellent example of those characteristics.

Project PANDA is Community Health Center’s flagship prevention and outreach program.  It focuses on teaching positive decision making, self esteem and peer support while educating middle school students about the dangers of substance abuse.  Engaging this age group with a drug-free message is no easy task, but Lauren Munk proves year in and year out she is up to the challenge. She is literally a one-person operation and coordinates the PANDA groups and other prevention activities at dozens of area schools.  Every year she single handedly puts on between two and four PANDA camp experiences per year, she holds activities in area schools and she organizes evening and weekend events for PANDA students to participate in.
 In 2010, 345 students representing 22 area middle schools participated in PANDA camp.  Furthermore, the volunteers she engages have an incredible track record, coming back year after year to support PANDA.  Lauren manages a Youth Staff (former PANDA campers) and an adult staff of about 60 people.  Her small army implements the PANDA vision through a student/volunteer run website-, a Facebook page, and many more grassroots initiatives.   Recently, PANDA students submitted a video PSA to the  Ohio Department of Alcohol and  Drug Addicition Services (ODADAS) for a prevention contest.  They also volunteered at the Summit for Kids event and other CHC fundraisers tthroughout the year.  These are just a few examples how Lauren not only operates the program, but goes above and beyond to give her students a platform. One of Lauren’s PANDA students explains it best, “PANDA has given me the confidence to step-up, become a leader, and stand for what I believe in. In PANDA I can meet new people, make new friends and have drug free fun.”

Dr. Bob Smith Award
Dr. Bob Smith designed a program that facilitates hope and recovery. This award was designed to recognize those that, through their innovation, offer hope and inspire change in others. For those seeking wellness and serenity, the innovative, multi-media Rock and Recovery™ provides people in recovery, those struggling with addiction and the public with access to ongoing, multi-media positive messaging about the reality of recovery. For their innovation in the development of Rock and Recovery, the 2011 Dr. Bob Smith award was presented to the staff of 91.3 The Summit.
 Rock and Recovery™ was nearly a year in the making before signing on Thursday, September 15 at Noon – at the birthplace of AA – the gatehouse lodge at Stan Hywet Hall and gardens. Rock and Recovery™ is a collaborative effort of Summit Media Group with Garrett Hart and Tommy Bruno leading the charge here locally as well as on the national distribution.

 Rock and Recovery™ has the goal is to empower and entertain those suffering from addiction while enhancing their self-motivation and personal nourishment. Rock and Recovery™ provides entertaining and meaningful music with positive messaging, mixing individual testimonials with humor, to those addicted to alcohol or other substances as well as to their families and loved ones.

Rock and Recovery ™ is generously supported through donations from corporations, philanthropic foundations, and individuals. Rock & Recovery sustains itself as an additional aid, even an integral part, of the health-care professionals’ and addictive specialists’ recovery strategy in this exciting new era of public media.


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County of Summit
Alcohol, Drug Addiction
& Mental Health Services Board

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