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MDCH Director's Awards for Recipient RightsThe role played by the rights office is an essential component in the operation of an effective mental health service program. The rights office is responsible for educating staff on the rights guaranteed to recipients by Michigan's Mental Health Code, for empowering recipients by informing them of their rights and assisting them in becoming effective self-advocates, for preventing rights violations by encouraging staff to take proactive measures, and, when necessary, making the determination that a right has been violated and assuring that remedial action is taken.
This is a big responsibility. Evidence of the seriousness with which it is taken can be seen in the detailed description of the rights process placed in the Code by the State legislature. It can be seen in the criteria, set by the Department of Community Health in its assessment process, to assure that rights systems operate to the highest standards. And it can be seen in the efforts of hundreds of rights officers and advisors throughout the state as they endeavor to build strong rights programs. The protection of rights, and the maintenance of a strong recipient rights system to do that, is one of the cornerstones to which the Department is committed.
A unique side effect of this system has been that agencies have developed exceptional methods to assure that staff, recipients, parents, and guardians are made aware of, and become involved in, the process of rights. Annually, the department presents the Director's Awards as a way to recognize these efforts.
The Director's Awards are presented annually at the Recipient Rights Conference. If you would like to nominate an entity for consideration for future awards, please select this link to obtain the 2009 Director's Awards Nomination form and instructions. Remember to save your copy of the downloaded form (word format) to your documents before completion of the form.The following are recognized programs.
Director's Award for Innovation in Rights Protection
To be considered for this award, a rights office will have created a new and different way of enacting the vision of recipient rights or of a rights office. This may include creating a valuable new process or product, constructing a different way of approaching old problems, creating a new solution for certain wide-range systemic problems, etc. The rights office will show a demonstrated willingness to share the innovation with others when possible. As a result of this innovation, rights office will have an increased ability to better provide rights services either directly (such as when performing standard rights activities) or indirectly (such as if the innovation improves or enhances the operation of the rights office.)
Innovation in Rights Protection Honorees
2012 Recovery Care Committee, Center for Forensic Psychiatry
Director's Award for Advocacy on Behalf of Mental Health Recipients
To be considered for this award, a rights office will have made an outstanding contribution toward or have gone through extraordinary means to directly or indirectly advocate on behalf of people receiving mental health services. This may include exceptional effort or initiative by the rights office directly advocating of behalf of consumers. It may also include extraordinary indirect advocacy, such as a rights office acting as a catalyst for positive change, inspiring other entities or systems within or outside of mental health, to realize their roles in championing the rights or needs of recipients.
Advocacy on Behalf of Mental Health Recipients Honorees
2012 Rebecca Browne, Shiawassee County CMHA
Director's Award for Consumer Empowerment
To be considered for this award, a rights office has made a profound or uniquely positive difference in the lives of consumers, so that consumers are empowered to transcend the "world of disability" and live a transformed life of self-advocacy. Due to the initiative or effort of the rights office, consumers advocate for themselves in the protection of their own rights to the fullest extent possible, engendering hope, control of their own lives, and a place in society.
Consumer Empowerment Honorees
2012 Janet Dietsch, Network 180
Cookie Gant Spirit Award
Cookie Gant was a Michigan grown but nationally known advocate for human rights. She was a disability activist, a performance artist, a powerful raiser of consciousness, and a relentless supporter of diversity in every aspect of life. Cookie fought for human rights in the mental health system every day, never giving up her tough spirit, her love for others, or her sense of humor. She was an unstoppable, irreverent activist, who always maintained loving support and affection for people in "the movement." Shortly after her death in 2003, the State Recipient Rights Committee established an award in her honor and indicated that it should be given annually to a person who exhibits the dedication, demonstrates the tenacity, and advocates diligently for persons with mental illness and developmental disabilities - just the way Cookie lived her life.
Cookie Gant Spirit Honorees
2012 Dalia Smith
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