Benefit for the Brain
Benefit for the Brain highlights the need for both medical and non-medical research and services for mental illness. The evening will begin at 6pm with a cocktail hour including: a silent auction, live music, and a caricaturist, followed by a sit down dinner in which two awards will be presented: The Scientific Research Award recognizing research focused on substance use disorder and the Impact Award recognizing research outside medicine to promote recovery of persons with mental illness. The evening will conclude with silent auction winners announced and closing remarks by a guest speaker.
We are honored to announce the 7th Annual Benefit for the Brain Award Recipients:
2018 Scientific Research Award: Maria A. Oquendo, MD, PhD
NAMI Montgomery County PA is happy to announce Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D as our 7th Annual Benefit for the Brain Scientific Research Award Recipient due to her dedication and commitment to research surrounding suicide, those who attempt suicide, and variables that foster suicidality.
Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D. is the Ruth Meltzer Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. A Summa cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa Tufts graduate (‘80), she attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University and completed residency training at Payne Whitney Clinic, New York Hospital Cornell. From 1988 to 2016, she was at Columbia University rising to Professor of Psychiatry and Vice Chairman for Education. In 2017, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
Her expertise is in the diagnosis, pharmacologic treatment, and neurobiology of Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression with an emphasis on suicidal behavior and in Global Mental Health. Internationally known for neurobiological studies of suicidal behavior, Dr. Oquendo has used Positron Emission Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging to map brain abnormalities in mood disorders and suicidal behavior. In 2003, when issues regarding antidepressants’ potential risk for inducing suicidal behavior first arose, Dr. Oquendo and colleagues were commissioned by the FDA to develop a classification system to examine suicide-related events in the data. This system is endorsed by the FDA and CDC and now used worldwide. She has authored or co-authored over 400 peer-reviewed articles.
Dr. Oquendo is Past President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the International Academy of Suicide Research. She is President-Elect of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and also Chairman of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Scientific Council. She is a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the APA and the American College of Psychiatrists.
She has received a multitude of awards in the US, Europe and South America. Most recently, she was honored with the Virginia Kneeland Award for Distinguished Women in Medicine (Columbia University 2016), the Award for Mood Disorders Research (American College of Psychiatrists 2017), and the Alexandra Symmonds Award (2017 from APA).
2018 Impact Award: Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH
It is with great pleasure NAMI Montgomery County PA announces Dr. Valerie Arkoosh as our 7th Annual Benefit for the Brain Impact Award Recipient. Dr. Arkoosh has led and supported Montgomery County’s efforts in suicide prevention and awareness, the Stepping Up Initiative, and the opiate crisis.
Dr. Valerie Arkoosh was unanimously elected as Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners on November 17, 2016 The Commission manages human services for more than 100,000 residents, the County Court and criminal justice system, Voter Services, over 130 county bridges, 75 miles of roads and other infrastructure, 7 county parks and nearly 100 miles of trails.
Dr. Arkoosh is bringing innovative reforms to county government. She is improving services for children, Veterans, and seniors while ensuring an effective, transparent, and fiscally responsible government. She has led the efforts to eliminate street homelessness of veterans, streamline delivery of human services, increase repairs for county roads and bridges, and open 10 new miles of trails across the county. As a physician, Arkoosh is at the center of the County’s efforts to combat the opioid overdose epidemic, overseeing a multi-pronged, integrated response. In 2015 she issued a “standing order” to enable participating pharmacies in Montgomery County to dispense the overdose antidote naloxone at the request of any member of the public.
Upon obtaining her Master of Public Health in 2007, Arkoosh became deeply engaged in the national effort to achieve comprehensive health care reform. She led a national non-profit organization of physicians, who, putting their patients before profits, joined a broad-based nation-wide coalition for reform. During this time, she developed policy and legislative strategy, and promoted public engagement in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and throughout the country. Dr. Arkoosh maintains a comprehensive knowledge of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its impact on individuals and the health care system.
Arkoosh served for five years as Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Drexel University College of Medicine where she successfully drew upon her undergraduate training in economics to restore her department to fiscal solvency following the Allegheny University bankruptcy. During this challenging time, she also served as Interim Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and was actively involved in the financial oversight of the medical school clinical practice plan.
Prior to stepping into public service, Dr. Arkoosh was Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Arkoosh is a graduate of the University Of Nebraska College Of Medicine and received a Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She performed her residency at Jefferson Medical College in Anesthesiology with a special focus on Obstetrics. She has an undergraduate degree in economics from Northwestern University. Arkoosh lives in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, with her husband, Jeff Harbison, and their three children.
Master of Ceremonies: Dr. Larry Real
With great excitement, we welcome back Dr. Larry Real as our Master of Ceremonies. Dr. Real recently returned to Horizon House to serve as its Medical Director and as Co-director of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Psychiatry, after three years as the Chief Medical Officer for Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services (DBHIDS). He spent most of his career at the Belmont Center, formerly known as the Philadelphia Psychiatric Center, where he served in several leadership positions, including Medical Director from 1997 to 2010.
He is a past president of both the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Psychiatric Societies, and a Lifetime Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Real has been honored by his peers, by family advocates, and by consumer groups for his career-long dedication to public service psychiatry, family advocacy and the recovery movement, including receiving the Righteous Person Award from TIKVAH/Advocates for the Jewish Mentally Ill in 2011, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Mental Health Association’s 2012 Bell of Hope Award, several Exemplary Psychiatrist Awards from local, state and national NAMI, and most recently, the Paul J. Fink Leadership Award from the Philadelphia Psychiatric Society.
During the cocktail hour, we will be offering live entertainment by Jazz It Upright, Jazz trio www.jazzitupright.com and caricature drawings by
Have an item to donate for the silent auction or any questions? Please contact Ellen Roberts, Development Coordinator, email@example.com
All proceeds from Benefit for the Brain will allow us to continue the important work we do for all those and their families living with mental illness. Your support will help to fund the following programs which we offer at no cost to those in need:
Family to Family
A 12 week educational course for family members and caregivers of adults living with mental illness.
Peer run support groups for individuals living with mental illness facilitated by individuals living with mental illness
Family Support Groups
Peer run support groups for family members and caretakers of adults and children living with mental illness
In Our Own Voice: Living With Mental Illness
A one hour presentation on the lived experience of mental illness presented to high schools and colleges, communities of faith, and trainings for police, probation and correctional officers.
Ending the Silence
An in-school presentation about mental health designed for middle and high school students to help identify the warning signs for themselves and their friends and to help raise awareness and change perceptions around mental health conditions.
Proceeds from this event will also support NAMI’s presence in the mental health community through Monthly Meetings, Awareness Events, Legislative Advocacy, and Community Partnerships.
Thank you for your support!!
Benefit for the Brain 2017
On November 8th 2017, NAMI of PA Montgomery County hosted our 6th annual Benefit for the Brain event at the Philadelphia Marriott West.
THANK YOU to all our sponsors and to those who supported the event as an attendee, by placing an ad, donating an item, or by lending a hand!
It was a wonderful night that highlighted the need for both medical and non-medical research and services for mental illness in which we recognized the groundbreaking work done by our following awardees:
Irene Hurford, MD | PEACE Program the 2017 Impact Award Recipient
Christian Kohler, MD the 2017 Scientific Research Award Recipient
Master of Ceremonies: Lawrence A. Real, MD
ABOUT OUR AWARDEES:
Dr. Irene Hurford, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania and Project Director at PEACE (Psychosis Education, Assessment, Care and Empowerment), envisioned this innovative program to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis in Philadelphia in 2012-2013. She began working with Philadelphia’s Community Behavioral Health to bring that vision to fruition. Through that process a relationship was forged with Horizon House. In January 2015, PEACE, a program of Horizon House opened its doors to begin serving the Philadelphia community. PEACE serves individuals 15 years and older who have been experiencing psychosis symptoms for less than 1 year. Services include site based and mobile therapy, psychiatry, medication management, peer support, family support and education, peer groups, and supportive education and employment services. The participants we partner with are early adolescents and young adults and their families. All of our services are flexible and can be provided in the office and in the community. The program is aimed at helping people in the early stages of psychosis learn how to manage their symptoms and meet their life’s goals by offering easily accessible, effective treatment and support with a focus of resiliency and recovery.
Kneeling: Left R. Marie Wenzel, PEACE Program Director, Dr Irene Hurford, MD with PEACE Team and recent graduates
Christian Kohler, MD is the clinical director of the Schizophrenia Research Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kohler has been part of Penn Psychiatry for over 20 years and much of his work has focused on treatments of young persons with early psychosis. Since 2015 this effort has provided comprehensive care to young persons ages 14-30 years from the Greater Philadelphia area who have experienced symptoms for up to 2 years. The PERC program (Psychosis Evaluation and Recovery Center) is located at the at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and provides diagnostic evaluation and flexible individualized treatment for a 2-year period to pursue early recovery and progression in individual functioning. Our treatment model combines cognitive behavioral therapy with medication management, employment support, family education and intervention, and cognitive remediation. As part of the Schizophrenia Research Center, we participate in treatment studies that examine novel medications for more effective treatment of clinical symptoms and we pursue studies that examine brain functioning in psychosis.
Team photo: Dr. Kohler and part of the PERC team including Dr. Calkins, therapists Lyndsay Schmidt and LaTonya McCurry, and Bridgette Patton, clinical coordinator.
About Our Master of Ceremonies:
Dr. Larry Real has been the Chief Medical Officer of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services (DBHIDS) since July 2015. Prior to joining DBHIDS, Dr. Real was the Medical Director of Horizon House, Inc., for five years, after spending most of his career at the Belmont Center, formerly known as the Philadelphia Psychiatric Center, where he served in a variety of leadership positions, including Medical Director from 1997 to 2010. He is a past president of both the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Psychiatric Societies, and a Lifetime Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Real has been honored by his peers, by family advocates, and by consumer groups for his career-long dedication to public service psychiatry, family advocacy and the recovery movement, including receiving the Righteousness Award from TIKVAH/Advocates for the Jewish Mentally Ill in 2011, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Mental Health Association’s 2012 Bell of Hope Award, several Exemplary Psychiatrist Awards from local, state and national NAMI, and later this week, the Paul J. Fink Leadership Award from the Philadelphia Psychiatric Society.