Olympia – For their work to promote mental health, wellness, and prevent substance use disorder, the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) recently honored several individuals and organizations at the 36th annual Washington State Prevention Summit, held virtually Nov. 3-4.
This year's honorees:
- Amara Farah, Youth Leadership High School Category. Amara became involved in coalition work after her mom attended a Guiding Good Choices class. Amara is an active advocate for youth. She was involved with advocacy work at the state level to support increasing the legal age of tobacco sales to 21. She also encourages youth to engage in substance use prevention strategies.
- Carrie McKinley, Prevention Professional Category. Carrie is a seasoned prevention professional. She strives to understand the demographics of her service areas and offers programs tailored to their individual needs. Carrie is instrumental in providing services in three school districts to support substance use disorder prevention, suicide prevention, and mental health promotion. Carrie is a true champion and pioneer in prevention.
- Forks Community Coalition - Cecilia Ashue and Philip Sifuentes, Community Prevention Group Category. Cecilia and Phillip are members of the Forks Community Coalition. They organize events focusing on substance use disorder prevention, well-being, and trauma informed care. Their community outreach activities empower community members to identify solutions to promote the health and well-being of youth, families, and the entire community. Cecilia and Philip are an inspiration to the Forks coalition.
- Cowlitz Tribe Healing of the Canoe Program, Implementation of Prevention Program Category. Over the last three years, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe has implemented the Healing of the Canoe program. The program provides tools for youth in the Cowlitz community to build resiliency and hope through culturally relevant curriculum, prevention tools, and strategies.
- Larry Jackson Sr., Tribal and Urban Indian Prevention Professional. Larry is a member of the Quileute Nation and actively involved in the implementation of youth programs. He also provides assistance to the Wellness and Healing Court. Larry is passionate about providing help to neighboring tribes and communities. He is a gentle soul who offers encouragement to those in need.
- Garrison Middle School Prevention Club, Youth Leadership – Middle School Club Category. Garrison Middle School Prevention Club has been involved with the W2 for Drug Free Youth coalition since 2014. The club focuses on substance use disorder prevention, suicide prevention, mental health promotion and health equity. The club uses an evidence-based framework to implement public education activities and promote a welcoming, positive, and healthy school environment.
- Brenda Barrios, Prevention Professional Category. Brenda is a Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative coalition coordinator. As an advocate of diversity and inclusion, she is dedicated to serving vulnerable populations in the Sunnyside community and is committed to health literacy.
- Puget Sound Educational Service District Student Services and Intervention Services Program, Contribution to Prevention by an Agency Category. Puget Sound ESD's (PSESD) Student Services and Intervention Services Program has been providing prevention and intervention programs for youth and families for 20 years. They have several programs within their prevention suite, including school safety, suicide prevention efforts, and the Student Assistance Program. PSESD has created a seamless multi-tired, multi-domain support structure that supplements the academic experience of every student through the power of prevention-focused practices. PSESD's Student Services and Intervention Services Program is celebrated for their commitment to antiracist and multi-cultural inquiry, for embracing innovation in prevention efforts, and for committing to racial equity as a foundation of their prevention services.
- Cynthia Stark-Wickman, Lifetime Achievement. Cynthia has been committed to prevention efforts on San Juan Island, throughout San Juan County and across the Northwest Region. In 2004, Cynthia became the Prevention Coalition Coordinator for San Juan Island Prevention Coalition located in Friday Harbor. It was and is Cynthia's mission to bring the best prevention coalition to Friday Harbor. Cynthia has a strong foundational knowledge in prevention work, education and mental health. Cynthia pulls community members in with her expertise, perspective, and creative activities to help build a bigger picture of the problems and challenges, but more importantly, shows how to address the challenges with collaboration and hope.
HCA's Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery hosted this year's virtual event. Conference sponsors included the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. The Prevention Summit included more than 600 young people, volunteers, and professionals from around the state.
The 2020 Prevention Summit provided an enriching and culturally appropriate training and networking opportunity for youth, volunteers and professionals who are working to prevent substance use disorder, violence and other problem behaviors. The Summit addressed the integration of prevention efforts with primary health care and mental health promotion. The goal was to reach not only highly experienced youth and adults in the field of prevention but also those who are new to prevention, and to continue to build on our foundation of success in Washington State.
"It's an opportunity to share strategies that have led to our success in reducing underage drinking, smoking, and the use of prescription opioids in Washington State. Our work continues to advance and adapt to address today's substance use disorder prevention and mental health promotion priorities," said Keri Waterland, director of HCA's Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery. "It's also a time to reflect and strategize on the behavioral health challenges still impacting our state’s youth, families, and communities."