Lake County Opioid Initiative members receive awards
The Lake County Opioid Initiative has announced that Karen Wolownik-Albert has been awarded the Dr. Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award by the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health. Wolownik-Albert was nominated by Bruce Johnson, CEO for Nicasa Behavioral Health Services.
Dr. Vincent Bakeman was a was a pioneer and visionary in the behavioral health care field. He envisioned a society where behavioral health care services are available to all people. Within the last two decades, significant advancements were achieved in addiction and mental health services due to Bakeman's tireless efforts to communicate this vision to other professionals within the field, members of the community, and policymakers. The award named for him was instituted in 2004.
Wolownik-Albert is dedicated to speaking up for addiction and/or mental health services, has a clear vision for the future of the field, and consistently communicates her vision. She is a tireless leader dedicated to the advancement of behavioral health care.
Wolownik-Albert is the executive director at Gateway Foundation in Lake Villa. She significantly contributed to the Lake County Opioid Initiative's "A Way Out" countywide program. The "A Way Out" program gives participants and their loved ones the opportunity for help and treatment to end the destructive cycle that substance misuse, dependency or addiction has caused in their lives. Participants are given the chance to avoid the biological, psychological and environmental harms and are set on a direct course to recovery. The only requirement of participants is their self-motivation to seek recovery. The program is set up so that participants will not be criminally charged. There is no need to fear arrest or prosecution for seeking participation in this program.
Wolownik-Albert volunteered her time around the clock to screen and field the hundreds of calls that the program was receiving from police departments and crisis workers, and assisted those with substance use disorders and dual diagnosis. She used her exceptional clinical judgment to direct law enforcement to immediate steps in order to assist those who were seeking treatment and recovery assistance. Every individual who walked into a participating police department requesting treatment was placed into treatment and on a path to recovery. Wolownik-Albert has dedicated her heart, time and efforts to routing more than 300 individuals into treatment.
The Lake County Opioid Initiative also announced that Chief Eric Guenther of the Mundelein Police Department was awarded the Lawrence Goodman Friend of the Field award by the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health.
The Lawrence Goodman Friend of the Field Award was created in 2004 to honor the work of those outside of behavioral health care who support the field and advocate on behalf of those providing services, as well as those who are in need of services. Chief Guenther was nominated by Karen Wolownik-Albert and Bruce Johnson.
Guenther is the public safety director for the village of Mundelein, and has been with the Mundelein Police Department since September 1995. He has served as deputy chief, commander, sergeant, criminal investigator, and patrol officer.
He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Chiefs of Police Association, past President of the Lake County Chiefs of Police Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the FBI National Academy Associates.
Chief Guenther was awarded 2018 Chief of the Year by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. He was a recipient of this award due to his leadership in the community, in his own police department, the law enforcement profession, and service to the association. ILACP is a 1,300-member organization representing more than 450 agencies in Illinois. In addition, he was awarded the 2018 Pillar of Excellence Award. The Addiction Policy Forum's Pillar of Excellence Awards recognize innovation an excellence in the pillars of Prevention, Treatment, Recovery Support, Overdose Reversal, Criminal Justice Reform, Law Enforcement and Research. Recipients of these awards have excelled in their field and have made significant contributions to patients and families struggling with addition
Chief Guenther has had articles published in several law enforcement magazines including Police Chief Magazine. He obtained Police Chief Certification through the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. Furthermore, he is the visionary behind the "A Way Out" program.
The Illinois Association for Behavioral Health works with and educates legislators, policymakers, and key stakeholders, and assists in the development and implementation of sound public policy that creates and supports healthier families and safer communities. IABH also shares its extensive experience by providing conference and training opportunities on the cutting edge of behavioral health care.
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