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NewsNow - 12.20.2021

2021 Howard H. Sokolov Forensic Leadership Award Winners Announced

On Friday, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) announced its 2021 Howard Sokolov Forensic Mental Health Leadership award winners. The awards recognize excellence in the Ohio forensic mental health system by honoring an individual or a program involved in a direct practice, program, policy-making and/or planning role who influences forensic mental health services by consistently reflecting a commitment to excellence, recognition of dignity and worth of the consumer, the security and safety of the community, and dedication to providing quality forensic mental health services. This year, the award was presented to two individuals: Christine Julian, a defense attorney from Cuyahoga County and Dr. Bob Baker, Forensic Director at OhioMHAS.

Ms. Julian  was recognized for her “outstanding leadership as a mentor and advocate.” As an attorney with the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office, she established a specialized unit to handle mental health-related cases and serves as the lead attorney. Under her leadership, the mental health unit has grown to include 3.5 attorneys who staff the county’s five mental health court judges. Julian also conducts trainings and mentors other attorneys, both public and private. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Criminal Justice from Kent State University and received her J.D. from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Baker (pictured below receiving a plaque from OhioMHAS Forensic Coordinator Dr. Lisa Gordish) was honored for “outstanding mentorship in forensic psychology and leadership in shaping Ohio’s mental health system.” Since joining OhioMHAS in 1996, he has focused his work on violence risk assessment/risk management tools and processes, training and education, policy development, quality improvement, research, and database management. In this effort, he has worked closely with the Regional Psychiatric Hospitals (RPHs), the Forensic Monitors, and the Designated Forensic Evaluation Centers. As someone who is quite fluent with both clinical and forensic issues that are often at the crux of law and mental health, Dr. Baker has frequently consulted with legislators on proposed statutory language. He works closely with the OhioMHAS RPHs on improving forensically related programs, policies, and internal processes. He oversees community-based forensic programs such as the Designated Forensic Evaluation Centers, the Forensic Monitoring Program, and the newly established outpatient competency restoration programs, all crucial programs to crossing over from criminal justice interventions to community mental health services for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. Dr. Baker provides regular training to mental health providers and court-related personnel on various forensic topics carrying his philosophy of problem-solving through collaboration into each situation. He recently announced plans to retire at the end of January 2022.

Dr. Baker was nominated by a group of 11 peers, who noted on the nomination form, “We can think of no one in the state forensic system in Ohio who is a better fit for what it means to lead. Dr. Baker has served for many years, in multiple leadership roles in the state forensic system and at time he has led, guided, and brought forth new ideas to old problems…Perhaps more important than what he has done is how he has done it. Dr. Baker is in every sense of the word a statesman: calm and measured in conflictual situations, wise and far-seeing when the path forward is not clear, and fiercely devoted to common sense and best practice. Dr. Baker has guided so many of us through many challenging situations. The state forensic mental health system, and those of us who work within it, would simply not be what it is and who we are without him.”

About the Award: OhioMHAS established "The Howard H. Sokolov Forensic Mental Health Leadership Award" in 2015 to honor the memory of Howard Sokolov, M.D. Dr. Sokolov was a psychiatrist, leader, and scholar who made tremendous contributions to Ohio’s mental health field for decades. He was instrumental in the development of Ohio’s current forensic mental health system including the extensive revision of the forensic statutes in the Ohio Revised Code. He was influential in the establishment of the system of community-based forensic evaluation centers and the development of numerous forensic policies and procedures that govern the work in the Regional Psychiatric Hospitals. Dr. Sokolov served as Commissioner of the former Ohio Department of Mental Health in the 1970s, and subsequently held a number of other positions including Forensic Medical Director and Acting Medical Director for an extended period. He also served as President of the Ohio Psychiatric Association and was Professor of Psychiatry and George T. Harding III Psychotherapy Chair at The Ohio State University.

Governor DeWine Awards Grants to Support Child Advocacy Centers, Trauma Recovery Centers

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that grant funding has been awarded to support child advocacy centers and trauma recovery centers whose finances have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Payments totaling more than $800,000 were awarded to 17 centers to help with revenue losses and other pandemic-related costs incurred between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021. This opportunity is funded through the CARES Act, and funds are being administered by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the Ohio Office of Budget and Management. "The services these centers provide are essential for helping young victims of crime process trauma and navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system," said Governor DeWine. "The coronavirus relief funding we're awarding will replace revenue lost due to the pandemic in an effort to help these agencies continue providing their critical services."

Entities receiving funds include:

  • A Caring Place, Wintersville, $36,099.62
  • Athens Co. Child Advocacy Center, Athens, $427.90
  • Canopy Child Advocacy Center, Cleveland, $32,519.00
  • Care House, Dayton, $102,027.82
  • Child Advocacy Center of Warren County, Lebanon, $56,943.93
  • Children's Advocacy Center of Guernsey Co., Claysville, $19,244.00
  • Children's Center of Medina County, Medina, $29,758.10
  • Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, $108,994.00
  • Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center, Toledo, $137,700.91
  • Hancock Co. Center for Safe and Healthy Children, Findlay, $28,358.60
  • Harcum House, Lancaster, $21,896.99
  • Harmony House, St. Clairsville, $61,911.14
  • Hope's Place, Lawrence County, $21,804.51
  • May Dugan Center, Cleveland, $23,580.72
  • Michael's House, Fairborn, $64,240.19
  • The Nord Center, Lorain, $91,092.19
  • Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center, New Philadelphia, $4,846.41

Ohio’s Practice and Policy Academy Team Releases ‘Healthy Families Handbook’

Ohio’s Practice and Policy Academy Team has developed a Healthy Families Handbook that showcases a diverse array of trainings concerning supporting families impacted by substance use disorder. Professionals across the healthcare spectrum can take advantage of these trainings, offered freely through federal, state, and local entities. From trainings about the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to trainings about trauma informed care, this handbook presents a comprehensive list of timely topics that professionals can use to stay up to date on the important developments in the field. Everyone who is supporting families and communities experiencing substance use disorder should use this handbook as a guide to trainings available to support your professional development.

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