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What Genetic Testing Did for Katie Williams

Our Noble Purpose:

Delivering care that changes people’s lives. Maximize Your Mental Health! | Early Childhood Services | Reclaiming Lives with Amy Grant

ISSUE EIGHTEEN COVER FEATURE 2 | One of a Kind – What Genetic Testing Did for Katie Williams

HEALTH AND WELLNESS 7 | Maximize Your Mental Health! 8 | Physician Spotlight: Kiabe Supuwood-Allen, MD

9 | Centerstone Early Childhood Services 10 | Our Noble Purpose 1 1 | Three Steps to Fight Addiction Now IN THE COMMUNITY

12 | Centerstone Military Services License Plates 13 | Philanthropy in Action 14 | Reclaiming Lives Luncheon Features Grammy Winner Amy Grant 16 | News and Notes


Delivering care that changes people’s lives.






Editor in Chief Robert N. Vero, EdD Managing Editor David Schrader Contributing Editors Karen H. Rhea, MD Ramona Rhodes Natalie Stone Elliot Pinsly Zain Syed Contributing Writers Jeney Slusser Michael Reynolds Graphic Design Michael Rivera Centerstone of Tennessee Board of Directors R. Parker Griffith, Chair Jim Sweeten, Vice Chair Dana Oman, Secretary Mark Faulkner, Immediate Past Chair Janet Ayers Kelly Crockett Crook Father Fred Dettwiller Dr. Vincent W. Durnan, Jr. Albert Menefee III Dr. Carmen Reagan Steve Saliba Kate Satz Joan Sivley Sperry Bell Simmons Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate Dr. Robert N. Vero, CEO

ABOUT CENTERSTONE Centerstone is a national, private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) healthcare organization. We provide a comprehensive scope of behavioral health services to the people and communities we serve in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Additionally, we offer specialized life skills development, employment and housing services for adults in southern Illinois with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our organization offers a range of services and supports nationwide to service members, veterans and their loved ones, helping them to lead healthy and fulfilling lives beyond military service. Centerstone also operates the Centerstone Foundation, Centerstone Research Institute, Advantage Behavioral Health, Centerstone Military Services and Centerstone Health Partners. For more information about Centerstone, please call 888-291-4357 or visit 5,000-1116

From the Editor in Chief Greetings! Thank you for picking up this edition of Centerstone’s Reclaiming Lives magazine. I’m happy to be sharing more news about what our organization is doing to promote whole-person health. On page ten, you’ll read about our new noble purpose: Delivering care that changes people’s lives. These words capture our unwavering commitment to preventing and treating mental illness and addiction while speaking to a growing emphasis on integrated healthcare and beyond. For clients, donors, boards, communities and employees, this clearly resonates with and matches everyone’s daily efforts. As for changing lives, Katie Williams, featured in this issue’s cover story, further inspires us all toward that goal. Her dedication to improved behavioral health, despite complex symptoms and medication management challenges, is truly remarkable. She also provided an easy way to discuss Centerstone’s innovative use of genetic testing. We thought explaining “pharmacogenomics” without sounding too technical might be a little difficult—Katie made it fun! Finally, I invite you to learn more about Centerstone Early Childhood Services, providing free assistance across multiple counties to families with children in the prenatal through preschool age range. From preconception care and postpartum depression therapy to fatherhood engagement efforts, this service is changing lives in so many compelling ways. Your support of Centerstone is also a key to change. I’m grateful for your interest in the services we provide. Together, we’re achieving better emotional and physical wellness, reclaiming lives every day!

Robert N. Vero, EdD Chief Executive Officer




ONE of a


It doesn’t take long at all after meeting Katie Williams to realize she’s quite a unique character. Quick-witted, comfortable in her own skin and full of fun interests—dance clubs, fishing, paranormal fiction—this intelligent young woman is confident and friendly. When looking for the good energy in the room, try looking toward Katie. The story was much different seven years ago, however. At 17, she thought a sudden increase in anger issues just amounted to normal teenage behavior.

What Genetic Testing Did for Katie Williams Involving a simple test, Centerstone’s pioneering use of pharmacogenomics is accelerating improved behavioral health for our clients.

“I would get mad at like the least little thing and have major mood swings,” she says. “I’d be mad one minute and happy the next. I’d be crying, and then I’d be like, ‘Hey, let’s go play!’ Or my mom would tell me to do something, and I’d flip out on her. I’d yell. I’d punch. I’d scream. I’d kick.” Katie’s mom was naturally concerned and contacted Centerstone to schedule an initial appointment for her daughter. “My first visit was awesome because my therapist was awesome,” Katie remembers. “She would get on my level just to get me to open up. I felt comfortable talking about everything.” In time, Katie was diagnosed with multiple psychiatric disorders. Therapy and medication were proving helpful. Determined, she finished high school and got a job at a retail store. But then something happened that would stop her from talking about everything. continues on page 4 CENTERSTONE.ORG


Katie meets with her nurse practitioner, LaTisha Pike.

COMPLEX SYMPTOMS At 19, Katie was raped. She developed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), telling no one—including her treatment team—about the prolonged assault that had occurred until three years later. “I held that in because I was literally in fear for my life,” she says. “I was afraid someone would tell him I was talking about it, and then I wouldn’t be here.” As a result, Katie began to feel uncomfortable around people and closed herself off from family and friends. She also started cutting—“my legs, my stomach, my shoulders”—in places no one would easily notice. There were nightmares, and insomnia was added to the preexisting depression, paranoia, hallucinations and hearing voices. PTSD, combined with her other mental health conditions, led to a complex web of symptoms that was becoming more difficult to treat. Despite Katie’s brave commitment to talk about and work through each issue, her prescription medications were not working as well as expected. The process of trial and error with various medications saw occasional positive results but, more often, further frustration. 4


“We had tried almost everything, from lithium to Seroquel to Prozac to Gabapentin to Depakote,” recalls Katie. “We’d try a medicine, and it would work for a little bit, then it would stop. Then my mood swings would get ten times worse.” Katie estimates that in seven years of treatment, factoring in all of her diagnoses, she tried about 50 different types or combinations of prescription medication.

A NEW APPROACH Upon closer assessment of Katie’s situation, Centerstone nurse practitioner LaTisha Pike told her about an emerging form of genetic testing called “pharmacogenomics.” A big word, it’s simply defined as “the study of the interaction between an individual’s genetic makeup and the response to a certain drug.” In short, pharmacogenomics uses a person’s genetic data to better determine which medicines will more likely be effective in treating his or her behavioral health condition. For example, instead of having to choose from twenty antidepressants upon being diagnosed with depression, a genetic test produces a much shorter, scientifically informed list of medications to consider.

We’d try a medicine, and it would work for a little bit, then it would stop.”

Katie prepares for the simple genetic testing cheek swab.

As such, a faster path to improved mental wellbeing is opening up for some people. Centerstone sees more than 27,000 clients for psychiatric services in Tennessee each year and in select cases has begun using pharmacogenomic testing with treatment-resistant or medically complex clients. Katie’s testing was done in partnership with Assurex Health, Inc., whose GeneSight® Psychotropic test helps healthcare providers make evidence-based medication treatment decisions. Katie was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to undergo the genetic test and understand the results.

HOW IT WORKS To undergo pharmacogenomics testing at Centerstone, clients simply meet with a nurse to give a “buccal mucosa” (inside lining of the cheek) swab sample. “I thought it was going to be a blood draw, not just a swab,” says Katie. “It really wasn’t a bad experience at all.” The genetic material is sent away for analysis, which takes into account the symptoms at hand. Then, results are returned to Centerstone in a three-column printout that communicates much like a traffic light. The green column lists related medications well-matched to the person’s genetic

makeup. The yellow column shows medications to be used with caution. The red column advises on medications that would require increased caution and more frequent monitoring. Psychiatric providers and patients then discuss next steps. “LaTisha and I went over the results together,” explains Katie. “I saw the list of medicines that were less likely to be useful, and there were several on that list I had tried over the years. With earlier genetic testing we would have known more about better medication choices and in some cases a more proper dosage to try.” In Katie’s green column, a medication appeared that she had never tried before—the antipsychotic called Invega. Often used for mood disorders and schizophrenia, it was prescribed it for her paranoia symptoms in particular. After three months, those symptoms and others were under control to an extent Katie had not previously experienced.

BACK TO NORMAL “We tried the medicine suggested by genetic testing, and it’s working,” says Katie. “I’m not hearing things. I’m not seeing things. It’s great for my situation and has helped me more than anything. I’m not having suicidal thoughts. I’m not cutting anymore. My symptoms are in check.” continues on page 6 CENTERSTONE.ORG


It’s inspiring how focused Katie is on reclaiming her life. She’s faithful to regular sessions at Centerstone with her therapist, Meryl Taylor, as well as her daily medication (“I wouldn’t miss it!”). With progress made, she’s enjoying involvement with charitable causes, part-time work and playing with her nephews. Also, important relationships with other people—family, friends, romance—have been noticeably healthier. “I can actually be myself. I’m a normal person again . . . whatever normal is!” she laughs. Dr. Karen Rhea, Chief Medical Officer at Centerstone in Tennessee, was instrumental in bringing pharmacogenomics to the organization after being introduced to the science several years ago. She’s pleased with Katie’s success. “We’ve been working to embrace genetic testing at Centerstone and have had more than 1,200 patients participate so far,” Rhea says. “Katie is among the early ones to benefit from this breakthrough known as personalized psychiatry. She appears to be a smart young woman making significant progress. I’ve seen that smile when she talks about the good things happening in her life, and I know it must feel really good to be moving forward.”

A BRIGHT FUTURE Indeed, Katie is smiling and making plans for her future. She intends to become a phlebotomist and would like to work at a children’s hospital. Having received help herself along the way, she enjoys giving back now by volunteering at 5k races, breast cancer walks and music events. Further, sharing her story gives hope to the future goal of having pharmacogenomics and personalized psychiatry more widely embraced. Katie is grateful to Centerstone for what it’s doing toward that purpose and for her life. “Centerstone is a great place. I like LaTisha. I like Meryl. Dr. Rhea is nice. The pharmacy guys are funny. Everyone treats me like a normal person.” Of course she’s a normal person. But like her genetic makeup—a major factor in her improved mental health—Katie Williams is also clearly one of a kind. a 6


Dr. Karen Rhea looks over genetic testing results.

I can actually be myself. I’m a normal person again . . . whatever normal is!”

Maximize Your Mental Health!

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 1 in 5 adults in America experiences mental illness each year. Further, a recent Harris Poll showed 90 percent of Americans now value mental and physical health equally. As awareness increases and stigma decreases, in the pursuit of mental wellness we should ask ourselves: how can we get better at getting better? When wrestling with issues from addiction to depression to PTSD and beyond, people tend to think behavioral healthcare is purely prescriptive: medication, talk therapy and so on. However, staying proactive throughout the entire process is the key to experiencing real progress and healing. Here are five practical ways to maximize your mental health treatment. Be First – While it’s noble to put others before ourselves, mental healthcare is about prioritizing YOU. After all, getting better ultimately benefits those you care about most. When you need it, don’t be shy about asking for help. Act in your best interest—and make sure your behavioral health providers do as well. Speak Up – Communication is essential when working through any mental health issue. Concerned about certain aspects of your therapy, the effects of a medication or understanding symptoms of a diagnosis? Talk directly to your provider who will listen and adjust your treatment plan as needed to best achieve your goals. Want help but don’t feel much like talking? At Centerstone, for example, we offer art and play therapy (it’s not just for kids!) plus highly effective

treatments that don’t involve talk therapy, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for trauma. You have lots of options— explore them. Write It Down – Taking notes works well at school and the office, and so does journaling along your road to optimum mental health. Write out any questions you have for the therapist ahead of your first appointment and between sessions; jot down comments that resonate with you in treatment. Re-read this knowledge you’re compiling daily, and let it fuel your forward momentum. Also, be open to homework that puts what you’re learning into practice. Embrace Whole-Person Health – Mental health is more than taking care of yourself “from the neck up.” The connections between physical and mental health are well-documented and undeniable. It’s remarkable how treating your body right— exercising regularly, eating healthier, sleeping enough—contributes to a well-toned mind. Be Patient – Remember, huge changes rarely happen overnight. Just as physical therapy demands repetition and time to arrive at healing and strength, so does behavioral therapy. Set realistic, attainable goals. Celebrate baby steps toward success, even when you might prefer leaps and bounds. That outlook makes it easier to complete what you’ve admirably started. Mental health treatment works better when you take an active, informed role in the process. Be your own advocate, ask questions and dive into your chosen therapy. Be the best at getting better! a CENTERSTONE.ORG



Kiabe Supuwood-Allen, MD Dr. Kiabe Supuwood-Allen is a psychiatrist at Centerstone’s Frank Luton Center in Nashville, Tennessee. She provides evaluation services and medication management to help children and adults with behavioral health issues take control of their symptoms and lives. She attended medical school at Michigan State University and says, “I am enriched by the lives of my patients.” Dr. Supuwood-Allen also holds a master’s degree in Public Health and has an active interest in how social and economic issues affect health outcomes overall.

Why do you choose to work at Centerstone?

We share the same purpose. We are committed to working with people who have insurance as well as those who do not have the means to pay for treatment but are in need. Working with a team of highly motivated and well-trained professionals allows me to work better as a medication provider. I also appreciate the flexibility Centerstone grants me as an employee, which allows me to take care of my personal life so I can be more focused on my tasks at Centerstone when I’m at work. What is the most significant advancement you have witnessed in mental health since you began practicing?

I’m excited about the availability of 8


genetic testing. We’re able to make more educated choices in terms of medication management for our patients. It also allows us to learn important information about how people metabolize medication and how dosing the medication may contribute to side effects. What other advances in the delivery of care interest you?

I’m also interested in developing a more holistic model in which mental health teams work more closely with primary care providers. Patients who suffer from chronic mental illnesses are far more likely to struggle with chronic disease such as hyperlipidemia and diabetes. Centerstone has already begun to work with this model. I believe it will improve the overall delivery of good and appropriate healthcare for all of us. Tell us about your family.

I’m married and have two young boys. I enjoy spending time with them, but I tell people all the time I feel like I’m an Uber driver on the weekends. Both have homework, sports and playdates that I have to keep up with. I can certainly understand the parents I see every day who are busy with small children that they care for, jobs and a host of other responsibilities.

Yet, I’m grateful to be a part of their lives and have found working with parents and families at Centerstone has helped me become a better parent. What do you do in your spare time?

I’m part of a book club, so I spend a lot of time reading at night when the house is quiet. I also enjoy getting outside in my garden —though I do not have a green thumb! I’m constantly getting gardening tips from patients who seem to be a lot more blessed in that area than I am. I have difficulty setting aside time for myself, even though I give this advice to parents I see every day! What’s on your bucket list?

My father is from Liberia, which explains my unique name. I’ve only been once in my life due to the years of civil war while growing up, but would love to return with my family now that things are more peaceful. At some point, I would like to stay for an extended period of time and volunteer to work in one of the mental health facilities. There are many people still suffering from PTSD as a result of the war and other tragedies, but they lack sufficient services. a

Spotlight on Early Childhood Services Across nine counties in Middle Tennessee, Centerstone Early Childhood Services is helping families with children in the prenatal through preschool age range. These services are FREE and available in the home. Our team of dedicated professionals offers a dynamic range of support in the following key areas to strengthen families physically, mentally and emotionally. Care Coordination and Specialized Services •

Care Coordination: receive help managing your family’s health and wellness needs

Preconception Care: be as healthy as you can before pregnancy (women ages 15 - 44)

Tobacco Free Program: support for prenatal moms to stop smoking and earn free diapers!

Postpartum Depression Therapy: “Baby Blues” screening and therapy for mom and family

Fatherhood Engagement: teaching dads to strengthen connections with their children; also services for dads in jail or substance abuse treatment programs to help when they return home

Education, Linkage and Support •

Connecting with community resources

Linkage to substance abuse services

Infant Massage training

Family education and health promotion

Developmental screenings

Insurance application assistance

Parent support groups

Breastfeeding support

Get Behind Our Diaper Drive

Family Attachment and Child Development •

Parent Coaching: learn activities that boost baby’s brain development and strengthen child/ parent relationship to help children succeed in school and improve social skills

at Centerstone

Stress Management: receive support plus activities for healthy coping in times of stress Our annual diaper drive in Columbia, TN supports new mothers.

To qualify for Early Childhood Services, participants must meet ONE of these criteria:

The Inside/Out Dad curriculum for inmates reduces recidivism by connecting men to their families and teaching parenting/communication skills. Graduates receive a certificate and congratulations from local law enforcement.

Female, ages 15 to 44 (pre-pregnancy)

Be pregnant or trying to conceive

Have a child younger than two years old a To sign up or learn more: 931.490.1580 CENTERSTONE.ORG


Our Noble Purpose:

Delivering Care that Changes People’s Lives

aDre Daerle Delivering cetshalivering c i g t n c a h h c t a t a ngehsat vering th p . e s e people’s liv ople’s livpeeso.p changecare le’s livess .

Centerstone recently spent more than a year thoughtfully planning an update to its previous mission statement, which was “to prevent and cure mental illness and addiction.” Leadership met with employees, board members and outside experts to define a “noble purpose” that truly captures the work our organization does today and hopes to do in the future. Going forward, Centerstone’s noble purpose is: Delivering Care that Changes People’s Lives. While the former statement indeed reflected a wonderful mission, it did not fully represent some of the services now provided by Centerstone in areas such as integrated health, foster care and special needs. Further, a noble purpose (a phrase coined by business researcher Jason Jennings) more intentionally expresses why an organization was founded, why it operates today and why it will continue to operate in the future. David Guth, Chief Executive Officer for Centerstone of America, explains, “Our new noble purpose will serve as our mission statement. Our hope is that by using the term ‘noble purpose’ it will become something more and serve as a new foundation for shaping our culture and our service to our clients.” To celebrate the new noble purpose, an internal ad campaign was launched featuring Centerstone psychiatrists, community support specialists, peer support service leaders, purchase administrators and more (see photos). Employees were also invited to share stories of how another co-worker’s care is changing lives. Here are just a few examples of those inspiring accounts. 10


“Karen Francis [Clinical Peer Specialist] began working for Centerstone as moderator of one our online support groups for military spouses. Posts from frightened women at the end of their rope would show up at 11 p.m., and Karen would be up with them until dawn if they needed her, coordinating with Centerstone’s crisis line to make sure they were safe. On multiple occasions, she didn’t just deliver care that changed a life. She delivered care that saved a life.” — Jenny Carr, Director of Programs Centerstone Military Services

“Whenever I encounter a client, family member, community member or faculty who has had experience with Steven Sellars [Team Leader], I only hear wonderful words. He radiates warmth, understanding and positive regard. Mutual clients that I have shared with Steven always tell me what a positive impact he has had on their lives. In Cheatham County, Steven is active with the school district by attending and helping out at events and getting our team involved to spread the word about mental health in schools.” — Sara Miller, School-Based Therapist Cheatham County

“Sherrie Giles [Registered Nurse] has been serving our clients and working closely with our med staff for over 20 years. She has remained interested, concerned and dedicated to our clients’ wellbeing, and indeed, she is helping to change lives. Sherrie is one of the people you meet in life who you know for sure is right where she needs to be, doing exactly what she is doing: helping people.” — Berta Byrd, Support Staff Montgomery County

Three Steps to Fight Addiction Now by Michael Reynolds

My earliest memory is from age two. My sister and I were using a combine harvester as a jungle gym when I missed the bar and landed hard on my feet. No one noticed anything wrong at first. I was young enough that suddenly wanting to be carried around more didn’t seem odd. It wasn’t until days later when my parents took me to the doctor that a debilitating fracture was discovered. Addiction often follows a similar course: the person with addiction may not know what’s wrong or be able to express that something is amiss, and people around that individual do not always recognize signs of trouble. This reality, unfortunately, means that too few people get the help they need for their addictions. Addiction and its treatment represent a serious challenge for Tennessee. Our state ranks fifth in cannabis production, second in meth lab seizures and third in prescription drug abuse. We have a generational cycle of addiction among many families—from that great grandfather who made moonshine during Prohibition to a teen today who is raiding medicine cabinets looking for painkillers. For the health and wellbeing of families and individuals of all ages across Tennessee, we have to break the cycle of addiction in which so many are caught. Here are three important steps toward a life-changing and even generation-altering recovery: Don’t Wait. The time to get help with addiction is now. Once a person takes the initial steps toward recovery efforts, it may take years for certain behaviors to feel entirely “normal” again. No matter how long an addiction has existed, recognize the problem at hand and get started on the solution. In my daily work with drug courts in Tennessee, I’ve seen many people from all walks of life succeed, surviving decades-long addictions.


See the Doctor. We don’t think twice about having healthcare professionals fix our broken legs. We should just as easily ask them to help treat addiction as well. In Tennessee, a practice known as SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) can connect you to a clearly designed recovery plan. Ask your doctor if he or she participates in this program, and inquire about other addiction treatment services.


Trust the Process. You may have heard that “it often gets worse before it gets better” when fighting addiction. However, temporary discomfort from withdrawal surely pales in comparison to lasting sobriety. Recovery has many pathways, and they all involve trust—trusting a sponsor, a counselor, a psychiatrist, a higher power. Whatever method you choose, believe in this wise decision you’ve made.

Let’s get started! Centerstone is available 24/7 to help you begin your journey to recovery. For more information or to set-up an appointment with a counselor, please call 888.291.HELP (4357). a Michael Reynolds, LPC-MHSP, NCC, DCC, is Program Manager at Centerstone for eRecovery, a technology enhanced service in collaboration with the 12th Judicial District Drug Court that provides treatment for adults with mental illness and addiction who are in the criminal justice system. CENTERSTONE.ORG


Centerstone Military Services Offers Specialty License Plates Tennessee drivers have a new opportunity to support improved mental health for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Centerstone Military Services, in association with Soldiers and Families Embraced (SAFE), has begun a pre-sale campaign for the Tennessee Combat Action Specialty License Plate. If 1,000 orders are placed, the plate will go into production with proceeds from each sale going to provide behavioral health support to military service members. The license plate is slated to be available in seven distinctive designs. In addition to one for the general public showing support for military service members, other plates will specify combat action in a particular branch of the military. To qualify for the combat infantryman, combat medical or combat action plate, an individual must supply proof (DD 214) to the Tennessee Department of Revenue that he or she was awarded that badge. Each plate costs $35, but payment will not be collected until the goal of 1,000 orders is met. Proceeds to provide behavioral healthcare will be equally allocated by the State of Tennessee to Centerstone Military Services and SAFE. Why are these services so important? •

Since 2002, more than 100,000 current and former military service members have been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Estimates show 75 percent of those who suffer combat trauma do not receive adequate treatment.

A veteran is 12 times more likely to die by his or her own hand after leaving the military than to be killed in action by an enemy combatant while on active duty.

On average, 22 veterans kill themselves each day—one every 65 minutes.

Centerstone's former Navy Lt. Brian Overton and Army Col. (Ret.) Kent Crossley show off the new plates.

Anyone living outside Tennessee who is not eligible for a license plate but would like to support Centerstone Military Services may make a direct online donation. Learn more about the Tennessee Combat Action Specialty License Plate and more at a 12



Venture Circle Clinic’s Grand Reopening

(from left) Former Centerstone Board member Lisa Hooker Campbell, Regional VP Beth Hail and VP for Support Services Sallie Allen visit during the remodeled Venture Circle clinic open house.

Ambassadors, employees, community leaders and friends recently gathered to celebrate Centerstone’s newly renovated and reopened outpatient clinic at 230 Venture Circle in Nashville’s MetroCenter. Less than two miles from the former Ella Hayes Center location, some of the clinic updates include a new clinic layout, updated paint, furniture and flooring, added technology for client interactive treatment planning and an enjoyable outdoor space.

(from left) Centerstone Clinic Manager Melvin Ferguson, Ambassadors Circle member Jane Baxter and Chief Operating Officer Ben Middleton.

Want to receive monthly mental health tips and updates about Centerstone’s work in the community? Sign up for Hope and Healing, our new e-newsletter, by contacting

Centerstone Military Services Receives $75K Grant

BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee Health Foundation recently awarded Centerstone Military Services with a $75,000 grant to better serve veterans, service members and their loved ones. The funds will support advanced online therapy services for individuals dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexual assault trauma, anxiety, depression and other less visible wounds of war. Additionally, the services include a variety of online courses, support groups and workshops for both service members and mental health professionals.

Centerstone Offers Staff Mini Grants to Make Mega Impact Because small investments can provide big benefits to clients in need, Centerstone has launched “mini grant” funding opportunities for staff to utilize for the people they serve every day. Through the generous donations of employees, board and community members, Centerstone providers can now apply for funds on a quarterly basis that will directly improve the lives of clients facing a variety of challenges. The program has already provided bus passes for clients with no transportation, mattresses to a family used to sleeping on the floor and temporary accommodations for a family who lost everything in a house fire. These clients, and many more, will continue to be impacted thanks to the generosity of Centerstone’s donors. a



Reclaiming Lives Luncheon Features GRAMMY Winner Amy Grant


Centerstone recently hosted its second annual Reclaiming Lives Luncheon at Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville. Amy Grant, sixtime GRAMMY-winning singer-songwriter, and her niece Grace Woods, a Centerstone employee, were the featured keynote speakers.

Other speakers included former Centerstone CEO George Spain and board members Mark Faulkner, Sperry Bell Simmons and Karen Bell Moore. Simmons and Moore co-chaired the luncheon, while Dana Oman and Kelly Crockett Crook served as honorary chairs.

Amy and Grace talked about the history of mental illness within their own family and the importance of accepting and loving ourselves. The successful event raised funds that will help Centerstone provide mental health services to even more members of the community.

Like most, Grant’s family has had members suffer from some form of mental illness, but it was not until Amy’s niece, Grace, that she experienced it firsthand. At one of the lowest points in her life, Grace lived with Amy and was able to seek the treatment and recovery she needed.

Dr. Bob Vero, Chief Executive Officer of Centerstone, welcomed guests to the event.

Today, Grace helps others recover from addictions and overcome mental illnesses as a


Mark Faulkner, Grace Woods, Amy Grant, Dr. Bob Vero

Kelly Crockett Crook, Troy Solarek, Cindy Shafer, Jennifer Petty

Dara Russell, Dana Oman, Pam Bollinger

Margaret Barker, Kelly Nickels

Ashley Wass, Terri Schoenwald, Pam Tyner, Leigh Anne McWhorter Michelle Roberson, Christi Speer, Susan O’Connell

Linda Sims, Bonnie Bell

Amy Pass, Courtney Fitzgerald, Kimberly Butler

Karen Bell Moore, Dr. Bob Vero, Sperry Bell Simmons

George Spain, Ben Middleton

Centerstone employee. She began as a Peer Support Services Educator and is now a Community Support Specialist.

Leigh Ann McWhorter, Michele Roberson, Mary Wilson, Lyn Cates, Elizabeth Dennis, Daphne Butler, Kathy Thomas and Suntrust. a

The Reclaiming Lives Luncheon was sponsored HCA Tri-Star Health, OGA, fashionABLE and Foodie Nash. Local boutiques Dallysisters, fashionABLE, Riley-Land, Pieces and Vintage South offered shopping before and after the event.

For more about this event, contact Jeney Slusser at This event was made possible in part by generous sponsorships from:

Table sponsors included Sperry Bell Simmons, Karen Bell Moore, Dana Oman, Kelly Crockett Crook, Margaret Barker, Melissa Combs, Kate Satz, Joan Sivley, Courtney Fitzgerald, Diana Day-Cartee, Glenna Hazen, Catherine Rolfe, CENTERSTONE.ORG


NEWS&NOTES “Community Health Matters” TV host Amy Marsalis (left) speaks on air with Centerstone Chief Medical Officer Dr. Karen Rhea (right)

Centerstone Health Equity Summit presenters (l-r): Chuck Ingoglia (National Council for Behavioral Health), Maren Sheese (Centerstone Director of Integrated Health), Christina VanRegenmorter (Centerstone VP of Clinical Excellence), and Taslim van Hattum (Louisiana Public Health Institute)

(from left) Centerstone’s Becky Stoll, VP for Crisis & Disaster Management, Matt Hardy, Regional VP, Jennifer Smith, Program Manager, and Brad Nunn, VP for Quality Improvement, receive the Zero Suicide Pioneer Award

Dr. Rhea Discusses Integrated Healthcare Dr. Karen Rhea, Centerstone Chief Medical Officer, was invited to discuss the importance of integrated healthcare for people in Middle Tennessee on “Community Health Matters,” a television program underwritten by United Health Foundation. Centerstone continues to grow its emphasis on treating the whole person, managing mental and physical healthcare together.

Pioneering Efforts in Suicide Prevention The Zero Suicide Pioneer Award was recently presented to 16


Centerstone by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The honor recognizes Centerstone’s successful implementation of all seven facets of the National Action Alliance’s Zero Suicide Initiative: Lead, Train, Identify, Engage, Treat, Transition and Improve.

$6M Grant to Help Veteran Families Centerstone has received a threeyear, $6,000,000+ grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to continue funding Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), which aids low-

income veterans and their families in transitioning to permanent housing. The SSVF team serves in 40 Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky counties. Clients have called the service “a guiding light.”

Centerstone Presents Health Equity Summit Sponsored by New Venture Fund with support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the inaugural Centerstone Summit on Health Equity gathered experts from several states to discuss twentyfirst century mental healthcare models. Session topics included Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), ADHD, Integrated Care, Supportive Housing and more.

New comics about bullying (Smokescreen: No Time for Bullies) and the dangers of underage drinking (Spark: The Sobering Truth)

Centerstone CEO Dr. Bob Vero (left) and COO Ben Middleton (right) with The Tennessean’s News Director Maria De Varenne and Opinion Engagement Editor David Plazas at the TAMHO Awards Jennifer Armstrong, Centerstone Crisis Care Services Director, holds her 2016 Health Care Hero Award

One of the students featured in a series of new public service announcements from Centerstone Prevention Services

CEO Dr. Bob Vero with former board member and longtime supporter Lee Ann Ingram at the NAMI Tennessee Vision of Hope Award Gala

New PSAs and Comics from Prevention Services Centerstone’s Prevention Services has filmed a series of new public service announcements that provide guidance to students on topics including drugs and alcohol, bullying and depression. The team has also published new comic books about bullying (Smokescreen) and the dangers of underage drinking (Spark). Look for the PSAs on TV stations around Tennessee, and see the new comics at

Jennifer Armstrong a Health Care Hero Jennifer Armstrong, Centerstone Crisis Care Services Director, has

won a 2016 Health Care Heroes Award from the Nashville Business Journal. She was honored in the Safety category for leading innovative new suicide prevention work throughout Tennessee. Well done, Jennifer!

Centerstone Nominates Tennessean for TAMHO Award Centerstone was proud to nominate The Tennessean for the Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations’ (TAMHO) Media Award, which honors media outlets making outstanding contributions through their professional activities to Tennessee’s behavioral health

system and the people it serves. Maria De Varenne, News Director, and David Plazas, Opinion Engagement Editor, accepted the award.

Dr. Vero Honors Lee Ann Ingram at NAMI TN Gala Longtime Centerstone supporter Lee Ann Ingram recently received the Vision of Hope Award from Tennessee’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The honor was presented to her by Centerstone CEO Dr. Bob Vero following his special introduction which recognized Ingram’s remarkable support of behavioral health in Tennessee. a CENTERSTONE.ORG


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Centerstone’s 2017 RECLAIMING LIVES


© Photo by Joni Kabana


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