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Awards & Nominations

Award recipients will be added when they are confirmed.

Victor I. Howery Memorial Award

The “Victor I. Howery Memorial Award” is given for significant contributions to the field of rural mental health. This year’s recipient is Helene Silverblatt, MD. Helene is Professor of Psychiatry and Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. She is co-developer of the nationally award-winning UNM rural psychiatry residency program, for which she served as director for many years. She is also the Co-Principal Investigator of the UNM Transdisciplinary Evaluation and Support Clinic, a model inter-professional team that travels statewide to evaluate adults with ID/DD who have complex systems, behavioral, medical, and psychiatric concerns. As the Program Director of the New Mexico AHEC (Area Health Education Centers) Helene is able to connect her clinical and training expertise to develop easily adapted methods for behavioral health and integrated care workforce development, training, and retention.  Her passion is rural mental health; her tenure as a board member of NARMH has inspired and nurtured her in incalculable ways.


Going to Bat Awards

The “Going to Bat Award” is given to an individual for advocacy in the area of rural mental health above and beyond the call of duty. It is given to an individual who has consistently advocated (supported, promoted, stood up for, championed, defended, made room for, protected, etc.) for rural mental health beyond what are their normal job responsibilities. This year NARMH is giving two awards.


Denny Hutchison is receiving the award. He is the membership chair and past president of the Somerset County Farm Bureau and member of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Agricultural Promotion Committee, from Somerset County. Denny is an outstanding leader who organized, led, developed and expanded an exemplary multi-dimensional state rural health program/initiative that benefits rural Pennsylvania. He is credited for his superb community outreach and statewide call for support of mental health needs in local agricultural communities. Denny was lauded for his assistance in developing a crisis line and underwriting training that focuses on learning about the stressors in the agricultural community, recognizing and helping someone in crisis, and developing mechanisms to mitigate the stress. During COVID-19, he raised awareness in the farming community in Somerset County, discussing rural stress and the mental burden on farmers and their families. Denny reached out to veterinarians, feed and equipment dealers, and others who interact with farmers to alert them to warning signs of stress and depression. He is currently working with the PFB to raise awareness and make treatment more accessible for Pennsylvania’s farmers.


Senator Elder Vogel Jr. is also receiving this year’s award. Senator Elder Vogel Jr. serves the 47th District of Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence counties. He received the Rural Health Legislator of the Year Award recognized as an outstanding legislator from Pennsylvania for his work and support of rural health initiatives that address an identified need in their district or across the state. Elder was honored for recognizing and addressing the mental health needs of the agricultural community and bringing statewide and community attention to this important issue. As a fourth-generation farmer, he is abundantly aware of the significance of this issue and the missed cries for help. He continues to discuss, share helpful resources, and advocate for the farming community. Elder is also a compelling advocate of telemedicine for agricultural and rural communities. He sponsored legislation that has defined telemedicine and provided opportunities for rural areas to receive specialized care, including mental health services, without traveling outside the community.


Peter G. Beeson Rural Arts Award

The National Association for Rural Mental Health established the Rural Arts Award in 2007 to honor the life-long contributions of Peter G. (Pete) Beeson to both rural mental health and the rural arts. Pete is recognized within the association for his masterful writing about rural life and his beautiful photography both of which have graced the pages of many NARMH publications. The award will be presented to Trey Everett. Trey is a visual artist, pastor, teacher, and spiritual guide. He mostly works with pen and ink, which includes calligrams (images made with words), lectionary art, editorial cartoons, and commissions. He also enjoys mural work, including an outdoor mural on a building wall in downtown Crookston titled “Unity and Diversity”, and art related to cinema inside the Crookston Grand Theater. Trey’s work includes spiritual direction practice, healing art workshops, graphic recordings, and his visual art career. No matter the forum, Trey brings an authentic, contemplative, and peaceful approach. He has been called the “Tea Master” over the years. He holds the title light-heartedly, but he does brew jasmine tea almost daily in his Chinese Yixing tea pot and has developed a tea ceremony practice that he came across while on a 4-year mission in China. The ceremony is meant to instill a welcoming attitude toward whatever life may bring, as well as an opportunity to be awake to our senses, and to live in the present moment. A recent example of Treys’ work was a healing workshop he facilitated this spring with the residents of the Northwestern Apartments (NWA) transitional living facility in Crookston.  Residents at NWA have mental health and often substance health challenges. Trey presented ideas of how art can be another therapeutic tool on the path of recovery.  The workshop was a great way for residents to touch on vulnerabilities and feelings sometimes not available in more traditional therapies.  After an initial session residents spent a week with their art.  Many did several art pieces. Trey is such a treasure to the small town of Crookston and surrounding communities in northwestern Minnesota. His work with people and the art he provokes are hopeful and healing, with a sense of wonder and humor, reflecting the best spirit of who we are and who we can be.


Ann Schumacher Rural Clinic Practice Award

The Ann Schumacher Award is presented annually to an experienced practitioner who has demonstrated excellence, innovation, professional development and who has worked with domestic violence. This year’s award winner is Erika Brosig. Erika is a licensed clinical social worker and the Chief Operating Officer at Victim Services, Inc. in Cambria and Somerset Counties. She has been with the agency since 2003 and is proud to be an advocate in the fight against sexual violence. Erika is also proud to be a founding member and the coordinator for Cambria County's Sexual Assault Response Team. Erika earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, a master's degree in Psychology from Mt. Aloysius College and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. She is also a reiki master practitioner and teacher. Erika completed a year-long field placement at the Individual and Family CHOICES Program, an innovative trauma treatment center in State College, Pennsylvania. While at CHOICES she gained experience and knowledge in the integration of traditional therapy with cutting-edge and holistic healing techniques. Erika specializes in working with teenage and adult survivors of sexual abuse and believes in an integrative approach is essential to the healing process. She is a Certified Trauma Treatment Specialist and a Diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.

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