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The New Jersey Business & Industry Association was honored for its leading advocacy by the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) during its fall conference on Wednesday.

In delivering the “Making the Business Case” award, NJAMHAA President and CEO Debra Wentz said NJBIA was the “gold standard” for “guidance and strong advocacy regarding return-to-work issues, hiring practices and anything else related to business.”

“They are excellent allies and very powerful advocates, taking strong positions with data behind them,” Wentz said of NJBIA.

In accepting the award for the association, NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka thanked NJAMHAA for “an extraordinary year of collaboration.”

“Going forward, it’s important that we continue to ensure that we work hard on regulatory relief, ensuring you have the economic resources and access to human capital that you need to provide your services,” Siekerka said.

NJAMHAA is comprised of the leading mental healthcare and substance use disorder treatment providers who treat New Jersey residents with either or both of these health conditions, as well as their families.

Other Courage & Compassion award winners announced by NJAMHAA during Wednesday’s conference included:

  • Inspiring Peer Leader Award: Nicole Dorrity, Case Manager, Monmouth County STAR Program, Preferred Behavioral Health Group
  • Ingenious Direct Care Provider Award (posthumous): Daniella Biancaniello, Care Manager, Coordinated Family Care
  • Visionary Leadership in Clinical Innovation Award: Melissa Sampath, Vice President, Community Mental Health Services
  • Visionary Leadership in Innovation for Students’ Mental Health Award: Thomas Smith, Superintendent of Schools, Pennsbury School District and Advisory Board Member Attitudes in Reverse
  • Pivotal Leader in Children’s Services Award: Stacy Welch, Director, Visitation Program, Preferred Behavioral Health Group
  • Inventive Leader in Adult Clinical Services Award: Michele Ford, President & CEO, Inroads to Opportunities
  • Inventive Leader in Adult Prevention Services Award: Lynn Seaward, Assistant Director, Community-Based Recovery Support Services, RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery
  • Innovative Provider of the Year Award: RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery
  • Leadership in Setting an Example During COVID Award: Deborah Visconi, President and CEO, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center
  • Federal Legislator of the Year: Congressman Bonnie Watson Coleman
  • Enhancing Wellness and Recovery through Spirituality Award: Deacon Laverne S. Williams, Director, PEWS Program, Mental Health Association in New Jersey
  • State Legislator of the Year: Senator M. Teresa Ruiz
  • Truth in Media Award: Brett Johnson, Staff Writer, ROI-NJ