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Nicholas Addison Thomas

Director of Content Marketing, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Recognizing Advocacy All-Stars during Hill Day at Home

June 17, 2020 | Education and Events | Comments
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As COVID-19 continues to impact communities across the country, individuals and organizations behind the scenes are stepping up for people with mental health and addiction treatment needs – from frontline workers and appointed officials, to behavioral health care leadership.

During our Advocacy Leadership Awards program on Tuesday, June 23, during Hill Day at Home, we are bringing a few of these community champions to the forefront. Two individuals and one organization whose vision and leadership have changed lives and strengthened communities.

With support from our awards sponsor, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., we are proud to recognize the following advocacy all-stars for reminding us what can happen when passion meets purpose:

Lauri Cole, MSW: As New York began the transition to managed care, Lauri Cole, executive director of New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, helped ensure $120 million in premium savings due to implementation delays remaining in the behavioral health system. Her push for transparency created a barrier that kept these funds from being re-appropriated elsewhere in the state budget. Learn more about our Award for Individual Achievement in Advocacy winner.



Representative Leslie Herod: As the first LGBTQ African American elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, Rep. Leslie Herod championed a bill that creates a .25% sales tax in Denver, raising approximately $35 million annually for mental health and substance use treatment funding each year and creating the largest mental health foundation in the state. The bill will increase access to thousands of Denver residents who may not previously have had access. Learn more about our Award for Public Service in Advocacy winner.


New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc: As the pandemic roared into New Jersey, NJAMHAA worked with state leaders to ensure necessary work was done to resolve medication-assisted treatment issues and prevent cuts to recently increased long-term residential SUD treatment rates. Their advocacy also led to legislation for expanded telehealth. Learn more about our Award for Organizational Achievement in Advocacy winner.


Register for Hill Day at Home to hear from these award winners, boost your advocacy abilities and contribute to conversations that will help transform our field. Questions? Contact us.

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