Mertzic and Drake Named as 2017 Award Recipients for Fall Benefit Honors

The Mental Health Center is pleased to announce the names of the 2017 award recipients who will be honored at the 18th Annual Celebration for Mental Health Dinner and Awards Benefit for their contributions to the community and/or for the advancement and advocacy of mental health initiatives in the state. Proceeds from the annual dinner benefit on Monday, October 23 will support awareness and outreach initiatives for individuals and families in our communities who are challenged with mental illness.

The Community Leadership Award was established to recognize and honor business or community leaders who exemplify the leadership and commitment needed to build and support a caring community. Honorees are selected for their involvement in business, civic, philanthropic or cultural activities that enhance quality of life and wellness of our citizens.

Paul Mertzic, Executive Director of Community Health & Mission at Catholic Medical Center has been named as the 2017 honoree for the Community Leadership Award. Paul has been instrumental in providing leadership to ongoing community concerns, healthcare for the homeless as well as participating in oral health promotion and advocacy. Most recently he has served on the Network4Health Integration Committee, which is part of the 1115 Transformation Waiver for the state. Paul has served the community in many ways including serving as Board of Director for Pastoral Counseling, On the Road to Wellness, New Horizons, Makin it Happen, Granite United Way, Healthy Manchester Leadership Council and other nonprofit organizations. Paul is also an active participant in St. Joseph’s Parish in Epping as a member of the Parish Council and the Knights of Columbus.  A statement within his award nomination summed up his countless contributions; “He is a great example of a servant leader – never expecting others to do what he himself is unwilling to do.”

The Wheelock-Nardi Advocacy Award is presented to an individual or organization who exemplifies a high standard of commitment and advocacy for those with mental illness.  The award is named in honor of former NH Hospital Superintendent Major Wheelock and former State Representative Theodora Nardi. The pair co-authored the 1982 Wheelock-Nardi Report, which became the blue print for the shift from institutional to community based system of behavioral healthcare in New Hampshire.

Robert E. Drake, MD, Phd, is the Andrew Thomson Professor of Psychiatry, Community and Family Medicine, and of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the former Director of the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center and is the 2017 recipient of the Wheelock-Nardi Advocacy Award.  Dr. Drake has studied psychiatric rehabilitation for nearly 40 years and is internationally known for his many contributions to transforming services toward greater alignment with client goals and recovery process. Dr. Drake is the co-developer of the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment, one of the most successful and influential of evidence-based practices in mental health care.   He has devoted his career to the conceptualization, development, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based practices, including IPS, integrated dual disorders treatment, and many other models.

Both Mertzic and Drake, are well-deserving candidates in recognition of their work, advocacy and involvement in community activities, which enhance the quality of life and wellness of our citizens. Additional information about the October 23 dinner and awards benefit for mental health awareness and outreach can be found at, Benefit For Mental Health