The NY Red Cross Chapter’s Disaster Mental Health Leadership Team is the recipient of 2010 Leadership Award. The work of the team’s nine volunteer members—Jill Bellison, Patricia Berliner, Dottie Brier, Linda Certo, Michael Cronin, Athena Drews, Eileen Dwyer, Fred Mazor and Mary Tramontin—is being recognized for its profound impact on the Chapter’s mission.
The Greater New York Chapter’s Mental Health Leadership Team had its genesis 15 years ago, when a small group of mental-health professionals in New York City developed a disaster mental-health program at the NY Red Cross modeled on one initiated by the National Red Cross two years earlier. Made up of clinical social workers and psychologists, this NY leadership team grew in volunteer membership over the next few years and was responsible for all aspects of the mental-health counseling until 2001, when a position for a staff mental-health professional was established.
Over time, “the compassionate leadership of these volunteers was reflected by the manner in which the mental-health program became integrated into Chapter activities and by the acceptance of the idea that a mental-health support model was helpful,” says Diane Ryan, NY Red Cross Director of Disaster Mental Health.
Amazingly, many of the team’s members have served for over a decade, including three of the team’s founding members—Patricia Berliner, Dottie Brier and Mary Tramontin—ensuring a 15-year span of consistency and quality service. The team continues to assist by collaborating on protocols; ensuring quality of client care; mentoring new volunteers at exercises and disaster sites; instructing disaster courses which have trained hundreds of additional mental-health volunteers; teaching Psychological First Aid to our regular volunteers; representing the Chapter at local, national and international mental health venues; sharing on-call responsibilities and covering for the director in her absence.
Recipents of the 2010 Leadership Award:
Jill Bellison from Manhattan, NY
Patricia Berliner from Queens, NY
Dottie Brier from Manhattan, NY
Linda Certo from Orange County, NY
Michael Cronin from Manhattan, NY
Athena Drews from Orange County, NY
Eileen Dwyer from Queens, NY
Fred Mazor from Bronx, NY
Mary Tramontin from Manhattan, NY