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 McKnelly 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 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.

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 McKnelly 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.

RHA Direct Support Professionals Recognized for Outstanding Service

In September and October, 2019, three RHA Direct Support Professionals were recognized for their outstanding service and dedication. Beth Triplett (Lincolnton, NC) and Carla Garrison-Greene (Augusta, GA) were recognized by The Council on Quality and Leadership during DSP Week in September. Lacretia HIll (Memphis, TN) was named Tennessee Community Organizations’ (TNCO) 2019 Outstanding DSP for Western Tennessee in October.

Beth Triplett: A Positive Source of Support

Beth Triplett works as a Direct Support Professional for RHA Health Services, a CQL-accredited organization providing a broad range of person-centered, integrated, and high-quality supports to thousands of people in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Beth has used the Personal Outcomes Measures® as a valuable tool to gain a better understanding of individually defined outcomes and then use that information to help support opportunities for a more meaningful day. Beth has made such a difference in so many lives, one in particular being Tammy.

Read Beth and Tammy’s full story on CQL’s website.

 


Carla Garrison Greene: Outcomes on the Ballot

Carla Garrison Greene never tells the people she supports that they can’t pursue their dreams. Instead, Carla works to empower people to make their dreams come true. Carla is a Direct Support Professional for RHA Health Services, a CQL-accredited organization providing a broad range of person-centered, integrated, and high-quality supports to thousands of people in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

During a Personal Outcome Measures® interview with Mary, a person receiving supports through RHA Health Services, Carla discovered Mary’s passion for the election process. After observing campaign activities and at one point being turned away from a voting site, Mary made clear in her interview that she wanted to vote in local and national elections.

Read Carla and Tammy’s full story on CQL’s website.

 

 


RHA Employee Lacretia Hill Named TNCO Oustanding DSP for Western Tennessee

Lacretia Hill, an RHA Health Services group home supervisor at the Dawn Hill home at RHA’s Memphis, TN unit, was named Tennesse Community Organizations’ (TNCO) 2019 Oustanding DSP for Western Tennessee. She was honored at TNCO’s Annual Awards of Excellence Luncheon on October 16.

PHOTO: Lacretia Hill (middle) with her husband Ricardo Hill, Sr. (right) and RHA Administrator Salihah Jenkins (left) at TNCO’s Annual Awards of Excellence Luncheon on October 16.

Lacretia began working with RHA as a direct support professional in 2007 and since that time she has been promoted to group home supervisor.

Read Lacretia’s full story here.

 

RHA Becoming a Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) Organization

Trauma is pervasive and affects everyone, whether or not one has directly experienced trauma. Without effective education and intervention, trauma will transfer, perpetuate and worsen. With this understanding, RHA Health Services has focused on becoming a Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) organization.

Trauma is pervasive and affects everyone, whether or not one has directly experienced trauma. Without effective education and intervention, trauma will transfer, perpetuate and worsen. It is a local community and world health concern.

RHA Health Services | Comprehensive Services in North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, and GeorgiaUnderstanding the impact of trauma in a person’s life is so important that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have focused efforts and research toward better understanding of this issue.

With this understanding, RHA Health Services has focused on becoming a Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) organization.

RHA’s Trauma-Informed Care Journey

Since 2018, over 100 RHA leaders have participated in our Trauma-Informed Care training, focusing on trauma and attachment, vicarious trauma, trauma-informed care (TIC), and TIC for Administrators. RHA is leaning on community partners as well, including utilizing a trauma-informed psychoeducational curriculum in use by Buncombe County in North Carolina.

RHA has Trauma-Informed Care Champions at all of our behavioral health locations that promote a trauma-informed culture and has a standing committee that includes representatives from throughout the organization that meets multiple times per year.

What is Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)?

• Understands the role that violence and trauma play in the lives of people seeking mental health and addiction services.

• Recognizes that trauma results in multiple vulnerabilities.

• Providers have a duty to possess a basic understanding of trauma and trauma dynamics.

• Become trauma aware and knowledgeable about the impact and consequences of traumatic experiences for individuals, families, and communities.

• TIC is the framework that guides treatment and intervention.

• Pays attention to the “Here and Now” needs of the person in front of you.

The 3 R’s of Awareness for TIC:

• Realizing the prevalence of trauma.

• Recognizing how trauma affects all individuals involved with the program, organization, or system, including its own workforce.

• Responding by putting this knowledge into practice.

Promoted and New Leaders at RHA Health Services in 2019

At RHA, we believe in developing and promoting our staff — so much so that we have ~200 promotions per year! Below is a list is notable promotions and new leaders starting new roles in 2019.

At RHA Health Services, we believe in developing and promoting our staff — so much so that we have ~200 promotions per year!

Below is a list is notable promotions and new leaders starting new roles in 2019.

Promoted and New Corporate Leaders

States Served Name of New/Promoted Leader New Role Manager of New/Promoted Leader
All Crystal Stanley-Wood Executive Director of Program Development for Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. Jennifer Lineberger, Chief Operations Officer, Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities
FL & NC Amber Duggins Promoted to Director of Quality Assurance for Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities in North Carolina and Florida. Carmela Phillips, Compliance & Quality Assurance Executive Director
All Sulaiman Majroh Financial Planning and Analytics Director. Includes HR/Financial reporting, operational analytics for IDD and BH, budgeting and forecasting. Based in Atlanta, GA. David Hecht, Financial Services Senior Vice President
All Kevin Porter IT Software Development Director. Based in Atlanta, GA. Denise Redfearn, Chief Information Officer
All Breanne Marie West Finance Director. Leading RHA’s Accounts Payable and Payroll teams. Based in Atlanta, GA. Jennifer Lozano, Financial Services Vice President
All Mary Ellen Dendy Marketing and Communications Manager. Based in Asheville, NC. Bob Turner, Director Marketing & Communications

Promoted and New Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Leaders

State Name of New/Promoted Leader New Role Manager of New/Promoted Leader
GA Thindiwia Meredith Woodstock, GA Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator Georgia Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Vice President of Operations.
NC Michelle M. Robertson Regional Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Operations Director for Clear Creek, Statesville and Maiden Units in NC Jennifer Lineberger, Chief Operations Officer, Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities
NC Nesheil Blue Benson, NC Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator Vanessa Burden, Regional Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Operations Director for Benson, Fayetteville and Lumberton, NC
NC Johnathan Bostic Maxton, NC Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator Jan Herring, Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Vice President of Operations – Eastern NC
NC Melissa Herring Bear Creek Center in La Grange, NC Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator Roger Jones, Regional Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Operations Director for Bear Creek, Greenville, Riverbend and Tar River
NC Chris Houck Statesville, NC Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator Michelle Robertson, Regional Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Operations Director for Clear Creek, Statesville and Maiden Units in NC.
NC Michael Marshall Maiden, NC Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator Michelle Robertson, Regional Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Operations Director for Clear Creek, Statesville and Maiden Units in NC.
NC Sam Williams Clear Creek Center in Charlotte, NC Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator Michelle Robertson, Regional Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Operations Director for Clear Creek, Statesville and Maiden Units in NC.
NC Lisa Jernigan Stones River Center in Murfreesboro, TN Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Facility Director of Nursing Lisa Izzi, Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator for Stones River Center in TN.
NC April Minder Clear Creek Center in Charlotte, NC Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Facility Director of Nursing Samuel Williams, Clear Creek Center in Charlotte, NC Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator.
NC Scotty Baker CAP Program Manager in NC. Based in Raleigh, NC. John Gibbons, CAP Director
TN Heather LeBlanc Nashville, TN Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator Lori Shipley-Wooten, State Operations Director – TN Waiver
TN Shelby Hobbs Walnut Creek Center in Goldsboro, NC.  Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Facility Director of Nursing Linda Woodard, Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Administrator – Walnut Creek Center in Goldsboro, NC.

Promoted and New Behavioral Health Leaders

State Name of New/Promoted Leader New Role Manager of New/Promoted Leader
NC Annie Beck New Bern, NC Behavioral Health Operations Director and Clinical Program Manager Chuck Hill, Behavioral Health Regional Director – Eastern NC
NC Chip Callahan START EAST Director Michelle Kluttz, START Director – West and East START
NC Brian Mingia Wilmington, NC Behavioral Health Operations Director Chuck Hill, Behavioral Health Regional Director – Eastern NC
NC Kurt Wilder Marion & Spruce Pine, NC Behavioral Health Operations Director Laura McIlvaine, Behavioral Health Regional Director – Western NC
NC Rachel Kilgore Hilltop Comprehensive Substance Use Program Manager throughout North Carolina Sara Huffman, Behavioral Health Regional Director – Central NC
NC Angela L Ramsey Leads RHA’s Mary Benson House program in Asheville, NC. Krista Engels, Behavioral Health Regional Director – Asheville Area
TN Bobby Brown Knoxville Behavioral Health Operations Director and Clinical Program Manager Sandy Feutz, Behavioral Health Vice President – Western NC and Tennessee

RHA’s Innovative Approach Connects Severely Mentally Ill with Primary Care

In 2016, RHA’s Asheville ACT Team participated in a unique grant-funded project. This project involved the partnership of our ACT Team with a local federally qualified health clinic (FQHC) primary care provider. The model, which we called the “ACTT Plus” program, was developed to improve the coordination of care among some of our most severely ill individuals receiving ACTT services.

By Dr. Michael Murray, RHA Medical Director

The RHA Behavioral Health Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT) is a service that employs a team of mental health professionals to offer a full range of support services to people with serious behavioral health needs. ACTT promotes rehabilitation and independence by teaching people the coping skills needed to safely and productively live in their own communities, engaging them in normal daily routines and healthy social interactions. People receiving ACTT services often experience significant reductions in crisis situations such as homelessness, incarceration or repeated hospitalizations.

In 2016, RHA’s Asheville ACT Team (located at Asheville’s C3 Comprehensive Care Center) participated in a unique grant-funded project. This project involved the partnership of our ACT Team with a local federally qualified health clinic (FQHC) primary care provider. The model, which we called the “ACTT Plus” program, was developed to improve the coordination of care among some of our most severely ill individuals receiving ACTT services. Indeed, our ACT Team in Asheville has historically focused on the homeless population which had a high proportion of individuals without a primary care home.

Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers LogoThe original pilot involved having a family nurse practitioner, Jacklyn Bandell, of the Appalachian Mountain Community Health Center’s Dale Fell Health Clinic, reach out to individuals on our ACT Team in concert with our ACTT nurses, to address primary care concerns among the patient population and provide these individuals with a primary care home — sometimes for the first time in years. Over the course of the first year of the project, 70 individuals on our 100+ patient ACT Team gained access to primary care, many of them for the first time in decades.

Following the successful completion of the grant-funded project, the program has expanded to provide ACTT Plus services to multiple ACT Teams in the community, including an ongoing presence with our Asheville ACT Team. While the original program has evolved and the current setup is significantly different from the original program, a weekly outreach component remains a key part of the program.

A unique aspect of the program has been the ability to collaborate with primary care to an extent that is typically impossible within the framework of our current medical model. We hope that the evidence of this model’s impact will be compelling enough to expand it beyond our own community.

RHA Partnering with MAHEC to Address Psychiatrist Shortage in WNC

RHA Behavioral Health in Asheville has been partnering with the new psychiatry residency program at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), since the program’s inception in 2017

By Dr. Michael Murray, RHA Medical Director

RHA Behavioral Health in Asheville has been partnering with the new psychiatry residency program at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), since the program’s inception in 2017.

MAHEC developed new psychiatry and surgical residencies to add to their existing family practice and OB/GYN residencies. The new residencies were created in a unique manner, with MAHEC partnering financially with the state of North Carolina, in order to address a pressing deficiency in terms of the numbers of these specialists in Western North Carolina.

Dr. Steve Buie, the residency director, approached me to determine if RHA might be interested in providing a community psychiatry component to the unique longitudinal instructional program that the residency was developing.

Beginning in July 2018, MAHEC psychiatry residents began rotating through to provide outpatient psychiatric services at C3356, RHA’s Comprehensive Care Center located at 356 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Second-year (PGY2) residents rotate through every three months and work in concert with the full-time staff providing care.

Both the RHA medical staff and the residents have commented on the mutual benefit of this arrangement, with the residents providing updated information regarding best practices and the seasoned community psychiatric practitioners providing insights into the treatment of our unique population.

There are future plans — not yet fully developed — to have more senior residents in their PGY3 and 4 years participate in optional rotations at RHA, including the possibility of working in our more rural clinics in Yancey or Mitchell counties and/or working on an ACT team.

RHA Behavioral Health has always been committed to partnering with educational institutions in an effort to provide a unique experience for students. In this case, we hope such participation will also provide RHA with a unique recruitment opportunity as these psychiatrists graduate and begin looking for employment.