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Public Policy

2013 Award Recipients

Dr. Donald “Jerry” Feulner Award - Leader of the Year

Frank C. Rabbito, MSW
Senior Vice President
WestCare Florida and Caribbean Operations
Miami

Frank C. Rabbito began his career in health and human services in 1973 as a social worker for the Miami-Dade County Welfare Department, and in 1984, was appointed as the division chief for special services in the Miami-Dade County Department of Human Services. In 1987, he entered state government as the director of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, District XI, Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Program for Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. In 1992, he was appointed as the District XI program manager for economic services and then returned to local government in 1993 as the director of court services for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Administrative Office of the Courts. In 2004, after 30 years of public service, Mr. Rabbito retired from government and began working for the WestCare Foundation. He is currently the senior vice president for WestCare Florida and Caribbean Operations and manages programs in St. Petersburg, Miami, Key Largo, Marathon, Key West, St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. Johns, U.S. Virgin Islands. Mr. Rabbito earned a Bachelor of Social Work Degree and Master of Science in Management Degree from Florida International University.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Doris Nardelli, MPA
Immediate Past Chair
Florida Substance Abuse Mental Health Planning & Advisory Council
Tampa

As the immediate past chair of Florida’s Planning Council, Doris Nardelli was committed to achieving full integration recognizing substance abuse. She developed close working relationships with the state authorities, professionals and advocates, working to provide tools and resources while guiding bylaw revision, strategic planning, education, and member recruitment. Ms. Nardelli has a lifelong passion for advocacy, having worked in youth and elder services for the former HRS and as a teacher and manager of Department of Juvenile Justice education programs. Her past experience in the private sector with Kohler Company of Kohler, Wisconsin and as a co-owner of a franchise service business in the Carolinas has served her in this field as well. Ms. Nardelli plans to continue communicating the value of treatment and the role of recovery for Florida residents.

Professional of the Year Award – Central Region

Dr. D. Lee Spell, MCC, DCC, LCCC, LCPC
Director of Education and Community Services
Hope Now Services, Inc.
Bartow

Dr. Douglas Lee Spell has served in the field of ministry for more than 21 years and in the field of counseling for more than nine years. He has been instrumental in beginning several programs around Polk County. Dr. Spell served at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office as the lead detention counselor for six years. He began and directed a faith-based program in the jail with a more than 80% success rate during his tenure. He retired from the Sheriff’s Office to begin Hope Now Services, a licensed level one and level two program for men and women with life-controlling issues. Dr. Spell currently serves as the director of education and community services for Hope Now.

Professional of the Year Award – Northeast Region

Renee Hellen, MS, LMHC, CAP
Senior Director of Adult Treatment Services
River Region Human Services, Inc
Jacksonville

Renee Hellen is the senior director of adult treatment services at River Region Human Services, Inc. Ms. Hellen has been with River Region Human Services for the past 17 years and has worked in a variety of positions during her tenure. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addiction Professional, Certified E-Therapist Specialist and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. During her years with River Region Human Services, she has worked in the mental health and substance abuse units providing co-occurring counseling to individuals in a variety of different settings. In her previous position as director, Ms. Hellen directly supervised masters and bachelors level counselors, working with adults and adolescents who have substance abuse and mental health issues. She was actively involved in the implementation of treatment programs for women and children in the community. Ms. Hellen has extensive experience managing medication-assisted treatment programs and currently directs adult treatment services, which include the methadone maintenance treatment program, residential treatment program, outpatient treatment program and medical services.

Professional of the Year Award – Northwest Region

Linda Preston
Director of Management Information Systems
Drug Abuse Treatment Association, Inc. (DATA)
Mangonia Park

Linda Preston initially became involved with Drug Abuse Treatment Association as a volunteer on the board of directors. At that time, Ms. Preston was the human resources director of The Childrens’ Place and Connors Nursery, a charity that provides shelter for abused, neglected and HIV positive children. The Shelter was acquired by another agency and since she loved working with children, Ms. Preston decided to work with the children served by Drug Abuse Treatment Association, Inc. (DATA). In her position in the management for outpatient programming, she managed the agency’s statistical reporting and databases. Ms. Preston also became the liaison between the State of Florida and DATA. Ms. Preston implemented a system that ultimately resulted in commendations for the accuracy of the agency’s information.

Professional of the Year Award – Southern Region

Michele Wyatt-Sweeting, MS
Consultant
New Horizons Community Mental Health Center
Miami

Michele Wyatt-Sweeting was the past director of prevention services for the southern managing entity responsible for programming oversight of multiple substance abuse prevention provider agencies and substance abuse community coalitions. She is also a member of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association and Department of Children and Families’ Design and Development Team guiding the transformation of prevention. Ms. Wyatt-Sweeting serves on Miami Dade County’s Addiction Services Board, where she has served on the task force for prescription drug misuse. She also serves on the Miami Dade County HIV/AIDS Partnership as and other prevention and transgender work groups. Ms. Wyatt-Sweeting is the chair of the Urban Partnership Drug Free Community Coalitions, one of three funded in in the United States.

Professional of the Year Award – Suncoast Region

Linda McKinnon
Chief Executive Officer and President
Central Florida Behavioral Health Network (CFBHN)
Tampa

Linda McKinnon has dedicated her more than 35-year career to improving the quality of life for persons with mental illness and substance abuse. Since 2002, she has served as the president and chief executive officer for the Central Florida Behavioral Health Network (CFBHN) Suncoast Region. She pioneered the process of establishing the first managing entity in Florida. Her past accomplishments also include the monumental task of coordinating the closing of G. Pierce Wood State Hospital while at DCF, serving on the FADAA executive committee and board of directors, and serving as the president of NAMI Florida from 2006-2008. Ms. McKinnon always goes the extra mile in assisting others and is well respected by her peers, staff, advocates, and the mental health/substance abuse community.

Clinician of the Year Award – Central Region

Nelda Jackson, BS, MS, CAP, LMHC
Program Supervisor
Tri County Human Services, Inc.
Lakeland

Nelda Jackson has spent the past 19 years working at Tri-County Human Services demonstrating a passionate understanding of traumatized women suffering from substance abuse and mental health disorders. She applies her remarkable application of therapy in practical ways that reach into the depths of each person served. Ms. Jackson treats everyone with compassion and with a sincere, and genuine attitude. She has encouraged many individuals to continue pursuing their dreams by simply modeling the behavior. Ms. Jackson is a person of integrity and is held in high esteem by the entire community.

Clinician of the Year Award – Northeast Region

Jennifer Paschal, MACC, MMFT, MACE
Director of Residential Adult Services
Gateway Community Services
Jacksonville

Jennifer Paschal has worked in the field of substance abuse for 20 years. For the past 14 years, she has been employed with Gateway Community Services. Ms. Paschal’s current position is the director of residential adult services. She supervises a staff of two counselors and three interns. Ms. Paschal is one of the most qualified and committed clinicians on the Gateway staff. To gain a better understanding of her field of study, she has earned three masters’ degrees in the areas of Christian Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling and Christian Education, and will be pursuing a PhD in the field of substance abuse. Making a difference in the lives of those facing drug and alcohol addictions is her number one priority, and one of Ms. Paschal’s main specialties is trauma counseling. Ms. Paschal supervised and held anger management classes with incarcerated female inmates in the Duval County Jail for three years. She is a great leader.

Clinician of the Year Award – Northwest Region

John Barnes, BS, MS, CAP, LMHC
Therapist II
Lakeview Center, Inc.
Shalimar

For 19 years, John Barnes has maintained a clear sense of purpose - helping those who struggle with addiction and mental health problems. His tenacity and commitment is evident in his daily work life as he maintains a full-time job as a forensic mental health specialist with the Okaloosa Court, and in the evening, provides substance abuse treatment at Pathway. Mr. Barnes has played a key role in making the Pathway and Okaloosa County Drug Court programs successful. His clients are clean and sober, have a stable living environment and are grateful for Mr. Barnes’ exceptional clinical care. He is the recipient of the Liberty Bell, an award by the Okaloosa-Walton Bar Association for outstanding work in his field.

Clinician of the Year Award – Southeast Region

Sigal Levy, BA, MS, PhD
Psychologist
Susan B. Anthony Center
Pembroke Pines

Dr. Sigal Levy has been a licensed clinical psychologist for the past 13 years with experience in the field of addiction for the past 20 years. She has worked at the Susan B. Anthony Center since 1998 and has earned many rewards for helping women restore their lives, reunite with their children, and learn to live productive and healthier lives. Dr. Levy conducts family, individual, couple and group sessions and works with individuals of various backgrounds. She has been honored as the employee of the quarter/month. She has also received award recognitions for her educational endeavors in the universities at which she achieved her diplomas (BCC and FAU). In the absence of her supervisor, she functioned as a lead clinician and as an acting clinical director. Dr. Levy’s expertise lies in the field of addiction, mood and anxiety disorders, trauma, grief and loss, eating disorder and personality disorders.

Clinician of the Year Award – Suncoast Region

Andrew Wagner, MS, CAP
Clinical Supervisor & Administrator of Outpatient Services
Operation PAR, Inc.
Largo

Andrew Wagner has dedicated 20 years to advancing behavioral healthcare and improving the quality of treatment services at Operation PAR. Under his leadership, his team attained certifications in evidence-based programs and practices and exceeded treatment outcomes in a federal grant. Mr. Wagner’s outstanding clinical supervision is proven daily, weekly and monthly with his performance assessment reports, client satisfaction results and clinical documentation. He motivates clients and employees while delivering excellent treatment outcomes and professional standards. Mr. Wagner remains innovative and positive in his approach, expecting the very best from himself and others. Everyday, he continues to exceed expectations.

 

Other Past Award Recipients

2016 Award Recipients

2015 Award Recipients

2014 Award Recipients

2012 Award Recipients

2011 Award Recipients & Nominees

 

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