Shaun Roark Joins RHA as Vice President of Business Development

June 5, 2020

Please give a warm welcome to Shaun Roark, who joined RHA in May in a newly created position as Vice President of Business Development.

“RHA continues to pursue its mission to be a best-in-class provider of services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to those with mental health and substance use issues,” says David Hecht, Senior Vice President of Financial Services. “RHA wants to find other like-minded companies to potentially acquire. Shaun brings a wealth of knowledge to help lead this important initiative.”

Shaun joins RHA after over a decade with The Mentor Network, as a Senior Executive Director in their M&A Department. During that time, Shaun led over 25 transactions representing approximately $300 million in revenue. Prior to that he worked in public accounting for approximately eight years; most recently as a Manager at KPMG, LLP in their Deal Advisory Group. Shaun holds both a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Bentley University in Waltham, MA. Additionally, Shaun is a licensed CPA in the State of Massachusetts.

“I’m excited to be a part of this vibrant and experienced leadership team. I look forward to contributing my array of experience to take this well-recognized organization to the next level, while preserving the organizational culture,” says Shaun.

David and Shaun are working together to implement a Business Development framework to serve as the foundation to achieve the Company’s long-term strategic initiatives.

On a personal level, Shaun says he has followed in his parents’ footsteps. “My father was in accounting, and my mother served as a nurse for over 40 years,” says Shaun. “Joining RHA is both enriching and rewarding to me, as I hope to do my part to help positively impact and improve people’s lives.”

Shaun grew up in the Boston, MA area, and is an avid sports fan. He will split his time between Boston, Atlanta and North Carolina.


Innovative Program, Celebrating Our People

About START Services Nationally

START stands for Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources & Treatment.  START is a comprehensive model of service supports that optimizes independence, treatment, and community living for individuals with IDD and behavioral health needs.

The Center for START Services at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability/UCED is a national initiative that works to strengthen efficiencies and service outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and behavioral health needs in the community.

START in North Carolina

NC START is statewide community crisis support programs for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and complex behavioral or mental health needs. Crisis prevention and intervention services are provided through crisis response, clinical consultation, training, and respite.

NC START operates throughout the state of North Carolina as three distinct programs (West, Central, and East). The programs began serving adults (18 and older) in 2009 and expanded to children (6-17) in 2016.

RHA Health Services operates the West and East programs in North Carolina. The NC START West program is through a collaboration with VAYA Health and includes clinical teams in Asheville and Concord, with a Resource Center in Statesville.  The NC START East program is through a collaboration with Trillium Health Resources and includes clinical teams in New Bern, Wilmington, and Greenville, with a Resource Center in New Bern.

START National Locations

Virtual 2020 START National Training Institute

People of RHA Involved & Recognized

The START National Training Institute (SNTI) is an annual in-person training event that brings together hundreds of START team members, self-advocates, families, and national & international leaders in the field of MH/IDD to share expertise, tools, and best practices.

The May 4-6 event was held virtually and included topics such as:

  • Learned Hopefulness
  • The START Film premier
  • Mental Health Treatment Approaches in a World with COVID
  • START Research Panel: Promoting Best Practices with Emphasis on Mental Wellness

Poster Competition

Two RHA START programs submitted research posters and were able to present during the Virtual 2020 START National Training Institute.  See the posters and links to their presentations, below.

NC START West – 3rd Place

Laura Shea, MA LCMHCA; Boyce Smith, MA LCMHCA LCAS; Dr. Anne Doucette, LCMHCS; Ann Klein, MA

Video Link:

Poster PDF Link:



NC START EAST – 3rd place

  1. Shane Miller, Certified Coordinator, NC East START

Video Link:

Poster PDF Link:


Awards Ceremony: Celebrating the START Community

Two RHA START Therapeutic Coaches were recognized nationally for excelling in their work and will receive plaques from the National START Team.

Christy Prophete, START Therapeutic Coach Team Leader– NC START West
Nominated by Morgan Futrell and Boyce Smith

“Christy is a bright and driven presence on our team. She has pushed our team to be more creative and innovative. She brings out the best in all of us through teamwork, collaboration, and FUN!”

“Christy brings positive energy to the workplace.  She practices open communication and offers solutions to problems two traits that make her a strong leader.”

Kenya Williams, START Therapeutic Coach – NC START East
Nominated by Suzy Mayberry, Sara Stanton, and Kerri Shaw

“Kenya has a great ability to join with complex and difficult systems to be a change agent. She is always positive and engaging.”

“Kenya utilizes her creativity, passion, and knowledge to improve the lives of those she works with. Kenya uses her top character strengths, honesty and humor, to develop rapport quickly…”


National Disability Provider Association Names Carla Garrison-Greene as Recipient of 2020 Georgia DSP of the Year Award

Recognition honors excellence in workforce providing long-term supports and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Augusta, GEORGIA – On April 16th, the American Network of Community 2020 Georgia DSP of the Year AwardOptions and Resources (ANCOR) announced that Carla Garrison-Greene, a Direct Support Professional (DSP) at RHA Health Services in Augusta, Georgia, has been named the recipient of the 2020 Georgia DSP of the Year award. Carla joins 54 other recipients of ANCOR’s 2020 Direct Support Professional of the Year awards, chosen from a field of 300 outstanding nominees.

“This is wonderful. RHA is overwhelmingly proud of our hero Carla, for her award recognition. I personally appreciate her dedication to support, celebrate, and help the people she serves be who they want to be,” said Jeanne Duncan, CEO of RHA Health Services. “We are fortunate to have so many dedicated DSPs helping others live their best lives, and we’re grateful that ANCOR has recognized Carla with this high-profile honor.”

Since 2007, ANCOR’s annual DSP of the Year awards have recognized outstanding professionals who deliver long-term supports and services to people with an Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability (I/DD). The awards celebrate the important role DSPs play in ensuring individuals with I/DD are included and empowered in the community and raise awareness about a direct support workforce in crisis. Inadequate investments in this essential workforce have led to turnover rates in excess of 50 percent and vacancy rates that average 18 to 20 percent nationally.

“ANCOR and our Diamond Partner, Relias, co-present the DSP of the Year awards program each year precisely because of people like Carla. Her commitment to ensuring the inclusion of people supported by RHA Health Services enriches not only the lives of those individuals, but the broader Augusta community at large. Without committed direct support professionals like Carla and all of this year’s outstanding award recipients, people with I/DD would have severely limited opportunities to be part of the community,” said ANCOR chief executive officer Barbara Merrill.

Robert Budd, president of the ANCOR Board of Directors and chief executive officer for Family Residences & Essential Enterprises, Inc., in Old Bethpage, New York, stated, “As someone who started his career providing direct support, I have a deep admiration for people who can overcome their own personal obstacles to show others in the community all that is possible when people have the support they need. Our DSPs rarely receive the recognition they deserve, and so I’m proud of our national association for acknowledging the critical work of Carla Garrison-Greene and all of our phenomenal awardees.”

About Carla’s Contribution

When an individual Carla supports expressed that they wanted to be President, Carla used the upcoming Residents Council election to launch an all-out campaign. This included photoshoots, posters, door-to-door canvassing and campaign rallies. Carla even secured a voting booth to transform her office into a polling place.

But Carla did not stop there: she then used this as an opportunity to educate others supported by RHA Health Services on the voting process and provide them with the full voting experience. The experience also inspired Carla to speak at the Georgia Capitol to advocate for fair wages for DSPs, where her testimony received a standing ovation from the panel.

“Our world would be a better place if there were more people that focused the kind of energy that Carla does on helping others reach their dreams,” said Tonya Self, RHA Administrator in Augusta, GA.


For 50 years, the American Network of Community Options and Resources ( has been a leading advocate for the critical role service providers play in enriching the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As a national nonprofit trade association, ANCOR represents 1,600+ organizations employing more than a half-million professionals who together serve more than a million individuals with I/DD. Our mission is to advance the ability of our members to support people with I/DD to fully participate in their communities.

About RHA Health Services

At RHA Health Services (, the people we serve and support in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee are at the very center of everything we do.  We are here to support, celebrate, and help the people we serve be the person they want to be and live their best lives.

Learn more about RHA Health Services.

RHA Behavioral Health Offering Services by Phone and Computer During COVID-19

RHA Telehealth Email


March 23, 2020 – RHA Behavioral Health in North Carolina is currently offering services by phone and computer. Please call 1-800-848-0180 to access services.

RHA’s Behavioral Health services (with include mental health and substance use recovery) in North Carolina provide a wide range of effective treatment options and recovery support for adults and youth who are living with mental health needs or struggling with concurrent issues.

Whether you are experiencing a current crisis or looking for routine outpatient care and ongoing support, we can help regardless of where you are on the journey towards improved health, and wellness.

Learn more about RHA’s mental health services.

Learn more about RHA’s substance use services.


C3356 BHUC in Asheville Becoming A Behavioral Health Crisis Center

C3356 Comprehensive Care Center located in Asheville, North Carolina is a one-stop treatment and resource center for mental health services, substance use/addiction recovery support, and support for individuals who have behavioral health needs and co-occurring developmental disabilities.

An Important Change

The RHA Behavioral Health Urgent Care (BHUC) will no longer offer 24/7/365 services, effective Friday, March 20 at 8pm.

24/7 Mobile Crisis services are still available by calling 1-888-573-1006.

The new Behavioral Health Crisis Center will begin operations on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8am.  Regular operating hours will be open Monday – Friday from 8am – 8pm.

Services available in the Behavioral Health Crisis Center will include:

  • Triage
  • Crisis Assessment to determine appropriate level of care
  • Linkage to the appropriate level of care and community resources

Other services at C3356 remain available, including:  Outpatient Therapy, Peer Living Room, Pharmacy Services, Same-Day Access, Neil Dobbins Center (24-hour Facility-Based Crisis).  Our Address is 356 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801.

Why The Change?

The C3356 Behavioral Health Urgent Care (BHUC) in Asheville relies heavily on State funding.  Significant reductions of this funding leaves RHA with no choice but to adjust our service delivery model and hours of operation.

24/7 Crisis Care Is Still Available!

RHA’s Mobile Crisis Management is available 24/7/365.

About RHA’s Mobile Crisis Management (MCM) West Team:  1-888-573-1006

Our MCM WEST Team serves 11 counties in Western NC: Buncombe, Madison, Yancey, Transylvania, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford, McDowell, Mitchell, Alexander & Caldwell.

Mobile Crisis services provide intensive, community-based response, stabilization and intervention for people of all ages who are experiencing a crisis due to mental health disturbances, developmental disabilities, or substance use.  MCM services are available regardless of ability to pay.

Our team of behavioral health professionals are available 24/7/365 to confidentially and safely stabilize the person at home, work, school or wherever in the community the crisis occurs.

Crisis symptoms may include: hearing voices, hallucinating, irrational behavior, expressing intent to harm self or others, withdrawal from substance use, and becoming unmanageable due to mental illness.

If experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and/or go to the closest emergency room.


Questions?  Call 1-800-848-0180 M-F during normal business hours.

RHA Partnering to Offer Youth Mental Health First Aid Training March 23

On March 23, RHA Behavioral Health will co-host “Youth Mental Health First Aid Training” in Greensboro, North Carolina with the Kellin Foundation. Blair Hedgecock, Behavioral Health Director with RHA Health Services, and Kristin Cheshire, Clinical Team Lead with the Kellin Foundation will lead the 8-hour course, which takes place at the Public Safety Training Facility in Greensboro.

On March 23, RHA Behavioral Health will co-host “Youth Mental Health First Aid Training” in Greensboro, North Carolina with the Kellin Foundation. Blair Hedgecock, Behavioral Health Director with RHA Health Services, and Kristin Cheshire, Clinical Team Lead with the Kellin Foundation will lead the 8-hour course, which takes place at the Public Safety Training Facility in Greensboro.

Why youth mental health first aid?

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This 8-hour training gives adults who work with youth the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to adolescents (12-18) who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care.

What will the course cover?

  • Common signs and symptoms of mental illnesses in this age group, including:
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Eating disorders
    • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Common signs and symptoms of substance use.
  • How to interact with an adolescent in crisis.
  • How to connect the adolescent to help.


This course will teach you how to apply the ALGEE action plan:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen non-judgementally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Who should take it?

  • Teachers
  • School staff
  • Coaches
  • Camp counselors
  • Youth group leaders
  • Parents
  • People who work with youth

Want to take the course?

New U.S. DHH Challenge Highlights the Importance of Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a competition titled “An Inclusive Talent Pipeline for American Businesses” that challenges American businesses to expand human capital pipelines by drawing upon highly talented and diverse workforces, inclusive of people with disabilities. The deadline to submit proposals for the initial phase of the challenge is February 14, 2020.

Deadline to submit proposals is February 14, 2020

At RHA, we are committed to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities while providing opportunities for businesses to hire a diverse, well-trained, and committed workforce in the Southeast. Our goal is to obtain and maintain competitive employment and to provide the training and the skills needed for people to live and work as independently as possible.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a competition titled “An Inclusive Talent Pipeline for American Businesses” that challenges American businesses to expand human capital pipelines by drawing upon highly talented and diverse workforces, inclusive of people with disabilities.

From the DHH competition brief:

People with disabilities use creativity to navigate the world, and in turn they develop unique strengths, such as problem-solving skills, persistence, forethought and an eagerness to innovate — all of which are essential to today’s market. American businesses that employ and support workers with disabilities see improved performance over their industry peers. On average these firms have:

  • 28% higher revenue, double the net income, and
  • 30% higher economic profit margins compared to businesses that did not engage in disability employment and inclusion efforts.1

In addition, companies that employ and support workers with disabilities were twice as likely as companies that do not to have higher total shareholder returns than their peers.  Further:

  • Innovation leads to the development of products and programs that are accessible for all.
  • Investors increasingly scrutinize company culture and diversity, including disability inclusion, in investment decisions.
  • Inclusive business environments often see improved productivity levels with the addition of employees with disabilities.

The initial phase of the challenge seeks proposals from competitors who aim to innovate and tailor the pipeline models to include individuals with IDD. The deadline to submit proposals is February 14, 2020. The total cash prize pool for all phases of the challenge is $380,000.

Click here to view the full challenge brief and instructions to apply.

RHA offers an array of services through vocational rehabilitation, waiver, and state-funded employment services, high school transition programs, community-based programs, and supports people with mental illness and substance use issues. Services vary by state. Click here to learn more about our Employment Services.

RHA Gastonia Unit Enjoys Group Painting Outing

Persons supported at RHA’s Gastonia Unit enjoyed a Wine & Design-style outing — minus the wine, of course! Each participant followed the example from the instructor to create their own painting on canvas. Brightly colored owl paintings and bright smiles were signs of a fun and creative outing.












Hunter McNelly School Celebrates Moon Landing Anniversary with Special Project

Over the summer, students at the Hunter McKnelly School at RHA Health Services’ Clear Creek location completed a project titled “From Hidden Figures to the Moon.” The project commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing on July 20, 1969.

Over the summer, students at the Hunter McNelly School at RHA Health Services’ Clear Creek location completed a project titled “From Hidden Figures to the Moon.” The project commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing on July 20, 1969.

Its intent was to also highlight the historically overlooked but extraordinary contributions of three African American women — Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn. Their work helped America win the “Space Race” and fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 vision of getting a man into space and then safely to the moon and back.

Katherine Johnson’s work as a “human computer” had direct impact on making John Glenn the first man to orbit the Earth and later on Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon.

The Hunter McNelly School plans to make the “Hidden Figures to the Moon” diorama a permanent display and interactive piece at the school.

Hurricane Preparation & Recovery Updates

On September 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina and over the next two days produced record-breaking rainfall the state. The storm caused major flooding and property destruction across eastern North Carolina.

In the wake of the storm, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded Hope 4 NC Crisis Counseling Program grants in the state to assist in recovery and preparedness education efforts. Two RHA teams have been working under Hope 4 NC grants to educate and assist survivors in their communities.

In Anson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Moore, Randolph, and Richmond counties, Cindy Pizzino and her team have been providing disaster preparedness resources and education. And in Bladen, Robeson and Scotland counties, Ivan Pride and his teams have assisted in recovery efforts — providing both immediate disaster services and ongoing recovery services.

Hope 4 NC Program Impact

Across the state, the Hope 4 NC program has produced some impressive results since its inception. Some results as of October 21, 2019:

• A total of 221,079 individual survivors have been served through Hope 4 NC CCP since September 14, 2018 when Hurricane Florence made landfall.

• More than 32,000 individuals were referred for more intensive community services, including health, behavioral health and disability services.

• More than 56,134 individuals were served since July 1, 2019. On average 3,500 individuals are served weekly. This surpasses the estimated 49,900 to be served through the RSP, by 13%.

• Since Hurricane Florence’s landfall, Hope 4 NC has served 9% of the total population of survivors living in the 27 most impacted North Carolina counties.

RHA’s Work in Central NC (Anson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Moore, Randolph and Richmond counties)

Since January 2019, Cindy Pizzino and her team have been working under a grant from FEMA, administered through Sandhills Center (Local Management Entity-Managed Care Organization), to provide education on disaster preparedness as part of the Hope 4 NC Crisis Counseling Program.

On Cindy’s team, Miriam Davila who started in March is working hard in their service counties with Spanish-speaking residents to share the information. Over the summer, she spent a lot of time helping children learn how to stay safe during natural disasters. There is a very substantial Spanish-speaking population in the rural counties the team covers and Miriams’ hard work developing strong relationships in these areas has made it possible to reach new individuals.

The team’s two newest members Vicky Berrier and Caroline Jones both jumped right in and are hitting the pavement hard to share the message and involve themselves within the community to arrange presentations and discussions about disaster preparedness.

Over the summer the team participated in many community events. They also worked with more than 120 students at the Hope Academy on activities about disaster preparedness including an activity where the students made artwork representing floods and thunderstorms. [See photos above.] They also recently gave a presentation at First Health and hope to be approved to present and share throughout First Health’s system in the future. They are also working with school system superintendents to be able to visit schools and help equip kids with disaster preparedness information.

RHA’s Work in Eastern NC (Bladen, Robeson and Scotland counties)

In October of 2018, Eastpointe (Local Management Entity-Managed Care Organization) reached out to RHA’s behavioral health team in the Lumberton area and asked them to provide recovery assistance to Hurricane Florence survivors in Robeson, Scotland and Bladen counties through the Hope 4 NC Crisis Counseling Program Grant (CCP).

RHA’s recovery assistance Outreach Team in Robeson, Scotland and Bladen counties worked in collaboration with Eastpointe, FEMA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS).

FEMA funded the grant in two phases: an initial 60-day phase to provide immediate disaster services and a second nine-month phase to provide regular services as needed for recovery. Each of the partners plays a role: SAMHSA provides technical assistance and training, NC DHHS oversees the implementation of the grant and Eastpointe serves as the liaison between RHA and NCDHHS and manages the funding from FEMA.

The goals of the Hope 4 NC CCP grants are:

• To reach large numbers of people affected by the hurricane through face-to-face outreach.

• To assess the emotional needs of survivors and make referrals to behavioral health services as needed.

• To identify tangible needs and link survivors to community resources and disaster relief services

• To provide emotional support through basic crisis counseling and education.

• To develop partnerships with local organizations.

Since October of 2018, the RHA Robeson, Scotland and Bladen Outreach Team, which consists of four Robeson County teams, plus one team each focusing on Scotland and Bladen counties, has reached out to tens of thousands of individuals and provided crisis counseling to many survivors. They have linked multitudes of survivors to much needed food and clothing and resources to get their homes repaired, started and/or participated in Long Term Recovery committees (LTR), and developed self-help groups. They are also visiting schools and daycares to provide disaster recover education.

Through our participation in the CCP grant we have provided important relief assistance to many individuals and will continue to do so until the grant ends on March 31,2020.*

*The government shutdown of 2019 caused the grant timelines to be extended.