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Recognizing Those Whose Work
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Transformative With an AMHCA Award


2013 AMHCA Awards Honor Excellence and Commitment to Mental Health Counseling 

Winners of AMHCA’s annual awards for 2013 were recognized at an awards luncheon during AMHCA’s 2013 Annual Conference in July in Washington, D.C. 

“Resilience, Transformation, & Advocacy” was the theme of the conference. AMHCA President Judith Bertenthal–Smith, LCPC, who chaired the Conference Planning Committee, observed that the theme seemed prescient in light of coping with the aftereffects of the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy to a wide swath of the densely populated Northeast. 

The individuals and state chapters who won awards this year have exemplified resilience, have helped transform their chapters or those they work with, or have advocated successfully on behalf of their chapter, their clients, or the profession of clinical mental health counseling.

Carol Staben–Burroughs, LCPC (pictured above), and Nancy Truett, LPC-MHSP, NCC(shown right), bestowed most of the awards. Staben–Burroughs chairs AMHCA’s Member Services Committee, which oversees the AMHCA awards program, and Truett is a member of the committee. 

Other presenters included AMHCA Associate Executive Director and Director of Public Policy James Finley (he presented the Legislator of the Year Award), Gail Mears, PsyD, LCMHC, NCC, an AMHCA past president (she presented the Diplomate Awards—see page 19 for the list of recent award recipients); Sharon Cyrus–Savary, (she presented the AMHCA Foundation awards); and AMHCA President 2013–2014 Judith Bertenthal–Smith (she presented the Past President’s Award).



  • Outstanding State Chapter: Florida Mental Health Counselors Association

FMHCA accomplishments this past year include: exceptional conference offerings and attendance, increased membership, sponsorship of sold-out supervisor training, hiring of an executive administrator, transition of financial reporting to QuickBooks, leadership of legislative efforts to update existing statutes, and working with other professional organizations to provide a unified front representing mental health professionals.

  • Outstanding Service to Members: LPCA North Carolina

LPCA of NC is recognized for advancing the organization’s presence on social media (including members-only forums) and streamlining its online image. The chapter also worked diligently to provide more opportunities for education, growth, and connection to LPCs in North Carolina. LPANC is collaborating extensively with other medical and mental health associations and offering a webinar series that provides free CEs to members once per month.

  • Outstanding Service to Consumers: New Jersey Mental Health Counselors Association

Many NJMHCA members reached out to offer services following Hurricane Sandy. In response to that, NJMHCA offered a fall retreat designed to prevent burnout and refresh the caregivers. “During a time of economic hardship, reduced volunteerism, and state disaster, the membership and board have remained steadfast, loyal, and diligent to serve both the community and professional counselors in the state,” the nomination stated.


  • Outstanding Membership Growth: Northern Virginia LPCA

NVLPCA’s recruiting efforts brought in 85.7 percent more new members than in fiscal year 2011–2012. The total membership is now 327, including 47 student members and 63 pre-licensed members.


  • Poster Session
Lori Russell-Chapin, PhD, LCPC, ACS, CCMHC, DCMHS, of Bradley University won for her poster on  “The Effects of Neuro-feedback in the Default Mode Network: Research on Medicated Children with ADHD.” Poster presentations were judged onsite at the conference.

  • Graduate Student of the Year / Donald Mattson Scholarship

Eunhui Yoon is a PhD student and pre-doctoral fellow in the Counselor Education Program at the University of Florida. Nominated by her professors for her superior leadership and interpersonal qualities, her varied research and publications on multicultural issues include: disaster and crisis counseling, girls as math and science learners, bullying, and counselor burnout. She also supervises counseling students and teaches at the University of Florida. 

  • Legislator of the Year

AMHCA recognizes Rep. Michael H. Michaud (D–Maine) for his strong leadership to improve the availability of mental health counselor services to veterans and for increasing the quality of mental health services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Public & Community Service

Adrian Magnuson–Whyte, PhD, LMHC, NCC, DCMHS, was honored for his volunteer work in his community with disenfranchised veterans and for his efforts to help the less fortunate. He also volunteers extensively with legislative issues related to the needs of both mental health counselors and clients in Washington State. He was invited to be a member of two governor’s task forces, which demonstrates the confidence others have in his character and abilities. 

  • Outstanding Community Service

Barbara Melton’s numerous volunteer activities include HIV training, working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, supervising new counselors, mediation, and Guardian Ad Litem work. She co-authored two books for parents and is frequently invited to speak on bullying and cyber-bullying. Melton volunteers on a variety of boards, including the South Carolina AMHCA chapter. 

  • Professional Service and Leadership to State Chapter

Elvis Lester, president of AMHCA’s Florida chapter, FMHCA, won for strengthening FMHCA during his term. Membership increased 20 percent, financial stability improved significantly, and the organization was streamlined by hiring an executive administrator and creating a finance committee. FMHCA conferences offered more than 70 CE hours, and Lester coordinated with lobbyists and leaders from other mental health organizations during the legislative session to make it a very successful year. 

  • Dr. Linda Seligman Counselor Educator of the Year

Lori Russell-Chapin, PhD, LCPC, ACS, CCMHC, DCMHS, of Bradley University won for her teaching excellence, mentorship, engagement with students, creative teaching, and research. Russell–Chapin has received many state and national awards for her work. Comments from colleagues included, “She has been and continues to be a role model for what a counselor educator can be,” and “Lori is the sort of colleague we all like to have.”

  • Past-President’s Award

The award recognizes AMHCA Past-President Karen Langer, LMHC (left, above), for her dedicated service to AMHCA as the association’s president from July 2012 through June 2013. Presenter Bertenthal–Smith, AMHCA’s current president (above, right), noted that Langer left “very big shoes” to fill, and that Langer “has served this organization very ably and well.”


  • Dissertation Research Award

Thomas A. Field, NCC, a doctoral student at James Madison University, won for his dissertation study, “Factors Helping and Hindering the Implementation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents in an Acute Inpatient Psychiatric Unit.” The award recognizes a student whose dissertation research furthers our knowledge of clinical mental health counseling. The $1,000 award is designed to assist doctoral students in accredited counseling programs with research costs. 

  • 2013 Student Travel Scholarship

April Krowel, a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Ball State University and a veteran of the U.S. Army, won the $1,000 travel grant to attend the 2013 AMHCA Annual Conference. Krowel is now chair of AMHCA’s Graduate Student Committee. Her main research interests involve student veteran college adjustment, suicide prevention among military members, and reintegration issues.