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Transformational Leadership Awards: Recognizing Advocacy in Mental Health

Written by Bruce Cruser

Bruce Cruser has been Executive Director of Mental Health Virginia since 2016, bringing a background in social work and community corrections, and many years of leadership experience in local and state government.

August 24, 2017

MHAV recognizes the extraordinary work of Mira Signer and Bonnie Neighbour, two dedicated advocates who have long championed the mental health cause! Both women will receive the “Transformation Leadership Award” during the “Saved by the Bell” 80th Anniversary Dinner on Sept. 23rd at 7:00pm. Congrats Mira & Bonnie, and thanks for all your hard work!

Mira’s motivation to transform the mental health care system stems from personal experience and lessons learned from supporting friends and loved ones with mental health conditions. She is passionate about creating a behavioral health care system that is comprehensive, user-friendly,and welcoming.

Prior to joining Magellan as the System of Care Director, Mira served as the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Virginia (NAMI VA). From 2007 to 2017, she led the efforts to reform the mental health care system and transform public perceptions about people with mental illness. Mira provided leadership on numerous statewide initiatives including the Joint Subcommittee Studying Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the 21st Century, the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health Services and Crisis Response and the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Homelessness. For her efforts related to system transformation, Mira was recognized as a Game Changer in 2017 by the Virginia Housing Alliance, and was honored in 2016 with the NAMI Executive Director Leadership Council’s Peer Excellence Award. In 2011, Mira was selected as a Top 40 Under 40 by Style Weekly.

Bonnie Neighbour has worked as the Executive Director, the Network Program Director, and the Advocacy Coordinator for VOCAL, the Virginia Organization of Consumers Asserting Leadership, the Virginia state-wide mental health consumers’ network; and CELT facilitator and Workforce Manager of MHAV.  She holds a Certificate from MHASP as a Peer Specialist; is an Advanced Level WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) facilitator; and facilitates several other wellness and recovery and advocacy based workshops and trainings around the country. Bonnie has been a strong advocate with the Virginia legislators, working to make Virginia a leader in recovery-based laws, policies and budgeting.  She has served on several Governor’s Taskforces and Workgroups over the years, working hand-in-hand with other advocacy groups, the Department of Behavioral Health, the Department of Medical Assistance Services, and the offices of the Virginia Attorney General and the Virginia Supreme Court.

Purchase tickets here!

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