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Rudisill Recognized for Her Community Outreach and Training Efforts

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — November 4, 2019 — 4 min read
Community Engagement Specialist Amy Rudisill has trained the entire Matthews Police Department in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), offered suicide prevention training to 140 students at Charlotte Country Day School and taught other trainers how to “jazz up” their trainings during a national summit.

“I am passionate about working with diverse communities to promote wellness, awareness, stigma reduction and create intentional partnerships for change,” Rudisill said. “After spending more than a decade working in the brain disorder industry, I believe that solid relationships and a collaborative community presence can create healthier, sustainable communities.”

(Rudisill said she uses the term brain disorder when talking about mental illness because she believes it helps break down the stigma. The brain, afterall, is just another part of the body that can get sick – same as the liver or kidneys, she said.)

“Amy embodies engagement. Anyone in the audience that has ever had a training from her can testify to this,” said LaShay Avery, Manager of Community Engagement in the Piedmont Region. “Amy’s exuberance is contagious. Her passion is motivating and her zest for life is evident in her work. She loves her job and it shows. She is embraced by her community of stakeholders and her peers.”

Rudisill has served for several years on the Mecklenburg County MHFA/Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) Training Collaborative, where she participated on the planning committee for the first ever Mecklenburg-sponsored, Statewide Mental Health First-Aid Instructor Summit. 

Through her own initiative, and in partnership with Atrium Health, Rudisill provided a webinar to 277 people nationwide through the National Council for Behavioral Health – Mental Health First Aid USA. The webinar was for MHFA instructors across the country and focused on “How to Jazz up Your Training.”

Rudisill has also served on numerous committees in Mecklenburg County including Medlink and the Crisis Intervention Team Training Committee, helping to coordinate annual events. She has been influential in building the collaboration efforts between the Mecklenburg Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program and the Piedmont CIT program, Avery said.

In May, Rudisill facilitated her first full week of CIT training in the Piedmont Region. On a training evaluation, one participant wrote, “Excellent speaker, great subject matter expert.”

“As a trainer, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Avery said.

Rudisill said she met Chief Clark Pennington of the Matthews Police Department during an annual police chief breakfast. Pennington told her how he was passionate about getting his officers CIT and MHFA trained. Rudisill arranged MHFA training for the entire department at their location in early 2019.

“This was a great example of developing partnerships that continue to grow and grow not only in Charlotte, but also in the outer areas/municipalities of Mecklenburg County,” Rudisill said.

When Rudisill brought QPR training to Charlotte Country Day School, she also helped develop and evaluation tool specifically to help the school administration to evaluate their students’ understanding of the subject matter. She trained six groups of freshmen in one day, 140 students total.

“It was phenomenal for us as trainers, for the students, for the school administrators,” she said, adding that the training inspired student and school officials to ask tough, thought-provoking questions and to have a good discussion about the topic.

Rudisill joined Cardinal Innovations through the expansion effort into Mecklenburg County in 2014. She had already built relationships in Mecklenburg County and expanded on those connections to engage the Charlotte and surrounding communities in what Cardinal Innovations does.

“As a Community Engagement Specialist, our role is to expand Cardinal’s footprint, to inclusively reach all diverse areas and people including stakeholders, systems, families, members, potential members, businesses, etc.,” Rudisill said.

Research has shown that the more individuals in a community or organization who are trained in basic prevention and wellness practices, the healthier the community or organization can be, Rudisill said.

“People don’t know or understand, what they don’t know or understand. However, if they are provided the tools, especially the local resources in the communities where they live, the more likely they may be to engage with or approach and assist individuals in crisis,” Rudisill said. “The more a community is empowered to engage a person in crisis appropriately and confidently, the less severe the crisis may become, which could mean fewer incarcerations or hospitalizations for body and/or brain disorders.”

Rudisill said when she is not working, she enjoys traveling both domestically and internationally and experiencing different cultures. She also does fitness kickboxing at a local martial arts studio and hot, slow flow yoga.

Volunteering is also important to Rudisill who has helped rebuild homes in communities ravaged by hurricanes and flooding in North Carolina, Louisiana and Texas. She’s put up drywall, painted, installed new flooring – whatever is needed, she said.

“I enjoy working and walking alongside the individuals/communities affected, and I feel honored to hear their amazing stories of resiliency and empowerment,” she said.
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