National Council Honoring Five with Awards of Excellence


Award Winners Will be Recognized During NatCon24, April 15-17

WASHINGTON, DC (March 1, 2024) — The National Council for Mental Wellbeing will present Awards of Excellence to five distinguished recipients during NatCon24, the organization’s annual conference and the biggest industry event in the field of substance use and mental health.

“I’m honored to recognize our Awards of Excellence winners,” said Chuck Ingoglia, National Council president and CEO. “Every year, I’m overwhelmed by the accomplishments of those we honor. This year is no different. Each winner has a record of achievement that is unmatched, and I’m thankful we can honor them for their incredible service.”

Brendan Reilly and Herman Russell each will receive the National Council’s Peer Specialist of the Year Award, which recognizes individuals with lived experience who work assisting substance use and mental health treatment and care clients with their recovery.

Reilly is a New York State Certified Peer Specialist with Access: Supports for Living, an agency in Newburgh, New York, that has supported the Hudson Valley’s families and communities for more than 50 years. In his role, Reilly uses his lived experience to erase the stigma of mental illness. He has been a peer specialist since 2014 and has worked in the mental health field for more than 20 years, including as a forensic peer specialist for the Department of Mental Health in Orange County, New York.

Russell is a peer support specialist for Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center, a licensed Level I and Level II outpatient addiction treatment facility in Chicago. He leads the organization’s alumni group, as well as Men for Sobriety and Dying to Live, a grief-processing group, while serving as vice president of their food pantry, director of Sober Support and on their board of directors. Russell also contributes to Above and Beyond’s civic partnerships across Chicago, spreading their message of harm reduction and why trauma-informed care for the disenfranchised is essential to health.

Linda Hurley, BA, MA, CAGS, and Marsha Medalie, MSW, each will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals for their tireless efforts and commitment to improving the lives of those living with mental health and substance use challenges.

Hurley is the president and CEO of CODAC Behavioral Health Care, Rhode Island’s oldest, largest and only nonprofit outpatient opioid treatment program. Under Hurley’s leadership, CODAC has been a national leader in developing new paradigms for the treatment of opioid use disorder, including creating a national model for medication-assisted treatment services in carceral settings and deploying the first mobile unit to offer methadone services under the new DEA regulations. Hurley recently received awards for bringing research to service and for community collaboration.

Medalie is the CEO of Riverside Community Care, a community-based nonprofit serving more than 40,000 people a year in Massachusetts and thousands more around the world through virtual behavioral health screening, suicide prevention and consultation. Medalie has decades of experience as a clinician and was CEO of an organization that merged with Riverside in 1995. She is passionate about finding ways to fully integrate programs to ensure the people Riverside serves receive the best care possible. Medalie is actively involved in the national debate about how service delivery may change through health care reform.

Carl Clark, MD, will receive the inaugural National Council Legacy Award, given to an individual whose contributions have helped advance mental health and substance use treatment and care.

Dr. Clark has been president and CEO of WellPower — a community mental health center in Denver — for more than 20 years. He has dedicated his career to improving the wellbeing of those in the Denver community and beyond through a focus on health promotion, wellbeing, resilience and recovery across the lifespan. Dr. Clark, one of Colorado’s preeminent advocates for mental health and wellbeing, is the National Council’s longest-serving board member.

About The National Council

Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,400 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

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