ACMHA names four 2011 award winners | Behavioral Healthcare Executive Skip to content Skip to navigation

ACMHA names four 2011 award winners

March 23, 2011
by Dennis Grantham, Editor-in-Chief
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David Lewis MD, Richard Dougherty PhD, Paolo delVecchio, MSW, and Trina Dutta

At a March 17 luncheon during its annual Summit, ACMHA, The College for Behavioral Health Leadership, ACMHA president Pamela Greenberg and president-elect Ron Manderscheid led summit participants in recognizing four professionals for distinguished service to the field. David Lewis, MD, a general practitioner whose early interest in addiction medicine led him to decades of service in behavioral health, received the Saul Feldman Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his efforts to give voice to the cause of addiction medicine among his peers in primary care.

David Lewis, MD (left), recipient of the Saul Feldman Award for Lifetime Achievement is joined by presenter Eric Goplerud, PhD, Immediate Past President of the College.

Notably, Lewis convened physicians across the nation in 1997 to reevaluate and revise national drug strategy to “end the war against those with addictions” by promoting an agenda of treatment and recovery instead of punishment. Later, the organization grew to include attorney and judges with an interest in expanding the role of drug courts and jail diversion programs. Richard Dougherty, PhD, was recognized with the Barton Distinguished Fellow Award for his “outstanding and sustaining contributions to ACMHA and the field, including significant work with the Massachusetts department of mental health, SAMHSA’s consumer-directed services initiative, and efforts to promote the interests of those burdened by disparities in the healthcare system.

Richard Dougherty, PhD, received the Barton award from Gail Stuart, PhD, who served as ACMHA president during Dick’s tenure on the board of directors.

Dougherty also heads the group BASIC NEEDS US, a nonprofit organization that establishes and sustains behavioral health and primary care clinic partnerships—some 900 to date—in underserved countries across the world. In addition to opening access to medication and treatment, he explains that Basic Needs also creates self-sustaining support communities for those who access its services, while assisting these consumers and their families in pursuing employment opportunities to sustain their recovery, health, and family needs. Paolo del Vecchio, SAMHSA’s associate director for consumer health affairs, was recognized with the Timothy J. Coakley Behavioral Health Leadership Award for his extensive efforts in leading recovery support and consumer-directed services efforts.

Paolo del Vecchio, MSW, is joined by Dick Dougherty, PhD, who represented the Coakley Trustees to present the award.

Delvecchio stated that field of behavioral healthcare has advanced in three major areas in recent decades: instituting recovery as a healthcare goal, reducing the use of coercive techniques including seclusion and restraint, and reducing the premature deaths of consumers. But, he wondered aloud what advances the field would make in the next 25 years, suggesting that future progress could be measured by the success of efforts to end the trend of social exclusion and poverty that often accompany serious mental illness, to gain widespread acceptance of the concept of recovery, to break the “Prozac ceiling” and secure leadership positions in national behavioral health bodies for recovered/recovering consumers, and finally, to see “self-acknowledged consumers “leading major behavioral health bodies and initiatives.

Trina Dutta (center) is joined by Lenora Reid-Rose (left) and Jennifer Magnabosco (right) who presented the King Davis award.

Finally, Trina Dutta MPP, MPH, a SAMHSA health analyst, received ACMHA’s King Davis award for Emerging Leadership in Promoting Diversity and Reducing Disparities. Dutta was recognized for her efforts at SAMHSA to catalyze national efforts aimed at “achieving behavioral health equity on the ground,” connecting interested, community-based organizations into a functioning national network, and supporting the continued integration of primary and behavioral healthcare. For more information about ongoing efforts to reduce disparities, visit