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Although there are many who have worked and are working very hard in support of those with a mental illness, the NAMI Alameda County South's Board of Directors would like to recognize the following for their exemplary service and support.

Richard Valle

Richard Valle (1949 to 2023)
Supervisor, Alameda County Supervisorial District 2.
Supervisor Richard Valle made mental health one of his top priorities. He was the frontrunner in creating a Peer Respite Center in Alameda County and was delighted to see Sally’s Place in Hayward open a few years back, with a home-like setting and six beds, staffed by peers who have found help with their illness and wish to assist others to find their path. He wanted to see that youth dealing with mental illness have a place to go in South County to meet and help each other get through challenging times. In 2020, he planned to host a Mental Health Summit, which unfortunately was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he pivoted to create two pre-recorded Mental Health Series episodes which are viewable on YouTube and focused on
1. youth experiencing difficulties during the isolation of the shelter in place (30 minutes),
2. stigma and the challenges of social media bullying and shaming (50 minutes).
He visited many persons incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail and brought them comfort and word from family when COVID-19 did not permit visiting. He planned to work in the next months with recommendations to shift people with a mental illness from the jail setting to places where they can get proper treatment, a caring environment and thrive.
Supervisor Valle passed away due to prostate cancer on February 8, 2023.
We thank you, Richard Valle for your dedicated service. May your extraordinary legacy live on.

Wilma Chan

Wilma Chan (Chinese: 陳煥瑛; pinyinChén Huànyīng; October 5, 1949 – November 3, 2021),
Supervisor, Alameda County Supervisorial District 3.
Supervisor Chan was a dedicated public servant and health care champion for over forty years, who served on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors from 1995 to 2000, at the California State Assembly from 2000 to 2006, and returned to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in January 2011. Supervisor Chan broke various glass ceilings throughout her career, serving as the first Asian American on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and as both the first woman and first Asian American Assembly Majority Leader in the California State Assembly.

Throughout her career, Supervisor Chan was an ardent champion for improving our healthcare systems and expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare. Upon her return in 2011, Supervisor Chan served on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ Health Committee. As the Chair of the Health Committee, she was a steadfast leader for numerous County health care safety net policies and system improvements, including addressing overcrowding concerns at John George Psychiatric Hospital and adopting a “Care First, Jails Last” policy to prioritize healthcare and divert individuals with Severe Mental Illness from the criminal justice system.  Supervisor Chan passed away suddenly on November 3, 2021, after she was hit by a vehicle while walking her dog in the City of Alameda.
We thank you Wilma Chan for your dedicated service.  May your extraordinary legacy live on.

Guy Qvistgaard

Guy Qvistgaard, Retired.  Charter member of NAMI Alameda County South.  As the Hospital Administrator at John George Psychiatric Hospital, Guy was a principal in developing the MoD® (Mentor on Discharge®) program.  The program reduced re-hospitalizations of participants by over 70%.  Guy also authorized the NAMI IOOV (In Our Own Voice) program to be presented on the in-patient units at John George.  Clinicians reported that many patients had little hope that long-term recovery was possible.  But after hearing the recovery stories of the presenters, some patients were more willing to work with clinicians in treatment planning.  Also, since staff, for the most part only saw the stabilization of patients, Guy wanted his staff to see what long term recovery could look like.  Therefore, he included IOOV presentations as part of new hire orientations.
Thank you, Guy. May you and Carolyn enjoy your well-earned retirement together in Massachusetts after completing your road trip throughout the United States.

Terri Daugherty

Terri Daugherty OTR/L, Manager, Behavior Health & Support Services, Retired. Terri was a 39 year employee for Alameda Health System- John George Psychiatric Hospital where she has provided therapeutic services to the acutely mentally ill.  During her time at JGPH she has made quality patient care and patient experience a primary focus.  She has supported bringing in the NAMI IOOV (In Our Own Voice) program in 2015.  In addition to these presentations to the inpatient units, employees receive this same presentation during their new employee orientation.  The staff has found this valuable to see consumers in recovery which, in turn, Terri has encouraged new staff to instill hope for recovery in the patients they serve on the units.  On the backside of IOOV, Terri has been the liaison to NAMI ACS providing them with continuous feedback on the successes of the program, managed participant/speaker evaluations, and supported speakers as needed.  In addition to supporting IOOV, Terri has conducted tours of John George for caregivers who completed NAMI Family to Family classes.  She has also supported senior high school students in their community service hours required for graduation. Terri has been a NAMI Walk Captain for “John George Walks for Wellness” for over 7 walks.  The department she manages has received recognition from the Alameda County Network of Mental Health Consumers for outstanding collaboration and Support as well as recognition by the State of California and MHA for exemplary services provided to those with a mental illness.
Thank you for your constant focus on the patient, their treatment, and their experience. 
Your support of the patients, staff, students, and mental health community is appreciated.  

Wendy Still

Chief Wendy Still, Alameda County Probation, Retired.  Chief Still showed compassion and support for all those on probation during her watch.  It is our opinion that she was there to support, not penalize, those on probation. As such, she authorized and supported the NAMI P2P (Peer to Peer) program for those on probation with a mental illness. Probation premises were provided for the classes. She did that with the understanding that the probation department would assess the efficacy of the program by monitoring participant contact with police and/or hospitalizations during and after taking the class.

Briefly, it was observed by probation that over 90 participants attended outreach event(s), and 65 clients signed up to attend NAMI classes. Twenty-four (24) clients showed up, 15 completed classes and 2 were trained as P2P teachers. They subsequently taught the 4th class. All remained out of jail and the hospital while receiving wrap-around supportive services necessary to improve their lives.

As commented by probation, “This turned out to be huge!!”
Thank you, Chief Still.  May you enjoy your well-earned retirement.

Lisa Heintz

Lisa Heintz, JD, Alameda County Probation.  Lisa was NAMI Alameda County South’s principal contact with probation and helped coordinate NAMI program activities with
3 CBO’s (Community Based Organizations). The Alameda County CBO’s had criminal justice reentry programs for those on probation. People in the reentry programs were offered matriculation in NAMI P2P (Peer to Peer) classes.
In addition to coordination, Lisa attended the first and last session of all NAMI P2P classes held by NAMI ACS. She was there to assure those on probation with a mental illness that the probation department was supporting them in their transition to the community from the criminal justice system.
In our opinion, NAMI could not have been successful with the participants in the criminal justice system without the dedicated support provided by Lisa.
Thank you Lisa for your devoted service to those with a mental illness in the criminal justice system.

Judge Carol Brosnahan

Judge Carol Brosnahan was a founding member of the Alameda County Behavioral Health Court.  Judge B., as she was affectionately called by the program's participants, presided over BHC from 2009 to 2020.  During that time, Judge B. oversaw the treatment of hundreds of criminally charged individuals who were in the justice system due to their serious mental disorders.  Thanks to the care and guidance of Judge B., many of these individuals not only received the mental health services they needed, they also obtained housing and secured employment as a result of their participation in the program.  Those who successfully completed their treatment protocols graduated from BHC and had their pending charges dismissed.  Judge B.'s impact on these graduates not only enriched the lives of these partners but also benefited the community in that none of the graduates recidivated with new crimes while she was on the bench.
Thank you for your many years of dedicated service to our community.  May you enjoy your well-deserved retirement. 

Francesca Tenenbaum 

Francesca Tenenbaum, Director, Patient's Rights, Mental Health Association of Alameda County.
Francesca has shown exemplary concern for psychiatric patients' rights. In her advocacy work, she actively encourages caregivers to advocate for their loved ones and how to do it. As part of her advocacy work in multiple counties, she has attended all of our Family to Family classes in the Advocacy section. In that class, she has provided excellent suggestions for caregivers of someone with a serious mental illness in advocating for their loved ones.

It is our understanding that she works positively with Doctors, Social Workers, Administrators, etc. consulting on cases where the laws seem to interfere with what they deem to be the clinical best interests of patients.  Her familiarity with the law and its legislative intent allows her and her team to provide creative solutions to these problems to assist their facility in minimizing potential liabilities that may face from decisions they make.  Her team can identify professionals whom they can consult with if they can't answer the question.

Thank you, Francesca, for your exemplary support for our loved ones with an SMI (Serious Mental Illness).

Michele Wms-Smith

Michele Wms-Smith was a Lead Family Advocate, for the Family Education and Resource Center (FERC), an advocacy program that supports family members of those who have loved ones with mental health conditions in Alameda County.  Michele completed the NAMI Family to Family class in 2009. Since then, she became a NAMI Family to Family (F2F) Facilitator, NAMI State Trainer, NAMI Support Group Facilitator, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Facilitator, and an essential family advocate for the FERC.
Before FERC, the policy was to have a member of the F2F class act as a resource person. After the class was completed, the resource person was no longer available for support. From 2011 to April 7, 2023, Michele made herself available as a "support person" for all the F2F classes hosted by NAMI Alameda County South.  As a Family Advocate for FERC, Michele was available as a "Resource, Educational and Support Person" for NAMI Family to Family class members, before, during, and after taking the F2F class.
After many years of dedicated service to our community, Michele retired on April 7, 2023.

Thank you Michele for your dedicated support of those with a mental illness.  Best wishes in your retirement.

Steve Ringle

Steve Ringle, Lead Activities Therapist, Fremont Hospital, has been and is a significant supporter of our IOOV (In Our Own Voice) program in-patient.  Steve has coordinated all in-patient unit assignments for arriving IOOV presenters since 2015.  He has assisted in identifying patients that could be IOOV program leaders and observed IOOV training sessions. He supports our Peer to Peer and Connection programming.  He has also supported NAMI by participating in our golf tournaments and other fundraising efforts.
Only through his dedicated support as a hospital employee can our programs be as successful as they are.

Thank you Steve for your dedicated support of those with a mental illness.

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