February 2018 Community Newsletter

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Welcome to Cardinal Innovations COMMUNITY, a monthly email newsletter for Cardinal Innovations members and families. In order to make this newsletter meaningful, we need your input and involvement - tell us what you'd like to see in COMMUNITY.

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​​Letter from the Interim CEO

trey-sutten.jpg I hope this update finds you and your loved ones safe and well after the severe winter weather that affected so many of us last month across North Carolina.

As I reflect on the last month, there are a number of developments to share, and even more planned for the future. I am encouraged by the progress we continue to make as an organization.

Our new Board of Directors was officially installed by DHHS at our January 27 board meeting, effectively transitioning the governance of our operations back to our new Board and Cardinal Innovations. DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen joined the meeting by phone and expressed her confidence in the progress and direction of our new Board and leadership team. It's worth noting that among the membership of our newly constituted Board of Directors are two representatives from local CFACs and one representative from our Executive CFAC. I appreciate the experience and perspective the Board brings and know they will guide us in the right direction.

I was pleased that we were also joined by several advocates at this meeting who provided the Board with valuable feedback during the public comment period. Those that spoke shared their concerns about previous actions, were cautiously optimistic about our future, and had positive things to say to the state and our Board. Our team and our Board look forward to regaining trust and delivering on our commitments. To that end, our Board made the decision to rotate their meeting locations to ensure more members and families have an opportunity to attend and share their perspectives. As details for future meetings become available, they will be posted on our Board of Directors page here.

Also at this meeting, our new Board approved our Corrective Action Plan, which you can find here. This plan will tackle the concerns that were raised in recent audits – some which have already been addressed. Our Board and our entire team is committed to the plan and implementing the changes. 

In other news, I am happy to share that we launched a Community Reinvestment Initiative. Through this Community Reinvestment Initiative, we are interested in hearing about and funding high impact projects in the communities we serve.

As you read more about this initiative, think about the needs in your communities and whether there are opportunities for us to support projects that will improve the health of those you care about and care for. Please share this information widely and encourage all eligible entities to apply. More information about this effort is posted on our website here.

We are also doing a number of things internally to better connect with you and others in the communities we serve. More to come about this in next month's newsletter. 

Lastly, I had the privilege of being one of the Cardinal Innovations representatives at a ribbon cutting ceremony last week to celebrate the opening of the SECU Youth Crisis Center, a Monarch facility in Charlotte. This youth-only facility based crisis center is the first of its kind in NC.

Ribbon Cutting Monarch.jpg

This project is a great example of partnership and innovation – it shows what a community can do when it comes together. I am proud to be a part of this organization and our communities. More to come next month. 

- Trey Sutten, Interim CEO
Cardinal Innovations Healthcare


Next Chapter Book Clubs 

book-club-email.jpgThe first North Carolina Next Chapter Book Club, a unique community-based book club program for adults with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, started in Forsyth County in 2012. Now there are five book clubs in Forsyth County and one in Davie County. The Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network sponsors the Forsyth clubs and purchases the books so there is no charge for members.

The clubs have won several awards including the NC Council Community Programs award for Prevention, Outreach, and Wellness and the Team with the Most Spirit at the Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network (PDSSN) Buddy Walk.

The book club members (including some who do not read) love books for the same reasons most people do. The book clubs meet in public locations for an hour a week, read a book aloud to each other and have discussions led by volunteer facilitators. Reading and comprehension skills improve while communication and friendships blossom.

The readers choose their books, and celebrate their completion with a party and by watching a movie version of the book, if available. The club members celebrated completing Sherlock Holmes with a trip to the police station to learn what detectives do. After reading Black Beauty, the club visited a therapeutic riding center to meet their "Black Beauty" and to learn about how to properly care for a horse. The club also took a trip to an archery center to learn about the changes in bows and arrows since the days of Robinhood and to try hitting the bullseye.

Every December, all five Forsyth clubs gather with friends and family for a holiday potluck, sharing food, bingo and a holiday story. The highlight is a performance by one of the clubs. In the past, they have acted out a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate factory and created and performed a play based on all the books they read one year. This year they put on a talent show that included readings, poems, jokes and music.

Click here for more information about Next Chapter Book Clubs including how to start your own club. Click here to check out the North Carolina clubs' Facebook page or contact Deborah Woolard at dgwoolard@gmail.com.


CFAC Spotlight: Five County

CFAC-meeting3.jpgFive County Consumer and Family Advisory Committee (CFAC) Chairperson Angelena Kearney-Dunlap said she got involved with CFAC because of the youngest of her 10 siblings, Donnie, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at about 20 years old.

"Having experienced her total personality change, I wanted to better understand what she was going through," Kearney-Dunlap said. "When Cynthia Fenner, a Cardinal Innovations employee, invited me to join the local CFAC, I thought it was the perfect way to enhance my understanding of my sister's condition."

Kearney-Dunlap was a CFAC member for a year and half long term and then helped find a replacement for herself when she stepped down in 2003-04. She later rejoined CFAC to get her sister more involved in it.

"I wanted my sister to step out of her comfort zone and become more social, so I encouraged her to become a CFAC member. She agreed only if I would accompany her to the meetings," she said. 

Angelena.JPGThey both joined together in 2012 and after serving for one year as a member, Kearney-Dunlap was appointed chairperson of the Five County CFAC.

"My sister Donnie really benefited from her two-year membership. She became Peer Support Certified and attended several conferences with me, never venturing further than Raleigh if travel included an overnight stay. Donnie admired Shirley Robinson-Flood, part of Cardinal Innovation's Community Outreach team, for her overcoming spirit and life story."

Donnie passed away May 2012 at the age of 58 but her legacy lives on, Kearney-Dunlap said. "CFAC was instrumental in her blossoming socially and gave her the opportunity to know she was not alone in her personal challenge with bipolar disorder."

Because of her service to the local CFAC, Kearney-Dunlap was designated to represent the Five County CFAC (Warren, Franklin, Vance, Granville and Halifax counties) on the Executive CFAC. 

"My involvement with the Executive CFAC has been an eye opener on several levels," she said. "I have a much better understanding of what it takes to provide a regional response to the varied needs of those that look to Cardinal Innovations to administer programs and services, making sure that everyone has equal access to resources they need and ensure it's within their reach. What a challenge!"

As chairperson, Kearney-Dunlap credits any success she's had to the Five County CFAC membership. She said any "success I have experienced is because of the committed members of the Five County CFAC. They play a vital part in the CFAC's influence in the community, we look forward to even greater community involvement in 2018."

The Five County CFAC, which meets in Warrenton, N.C., at the Vance is in the process of planning its 3rd annual Mental Health Awareness Day. Kearney-Dunlap said the tentative date is May 12 at the Armory Civic Center in Warrenton, N.C. The event will be open to the public and will include information from service providers.


Other CFAC Updates:


Executive CFAC – Cardinal Innovations' Executive CFAC includes three representatives from each of the community CFACs. The group meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every other month at Woodbury Park, 2929 Crouse Lane, Suite B, Burlington, N.C. The next meeting will be on February 22.

Alamance-Caswell CFAC – The Alamance-Caswell CFAC meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every other month at the Alamance-Caswell Community Office, 2929 Crouse Lane, Suite B, Burlington, N.C. The next meet will be on March 27.

Mecklenburg CFAC – Meets from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of every other month at Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center, 100 Billingsley Road, Charlotte, N.C. The next meet will be on March 15.

OPC CFAC – The OPC CFAC represents Orange, Person and Chatham counties. It meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of every other month at the OPC Community Office, 201 Sage Road, Suite 300, Chapel Hill, N.C. The next meeting will be on March 8.  

Piedmont CFAC – This CFAC is comprised of members and their families from Cabarrus, Davidson, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties. This CFAC meets on the third Tuesday of every other month from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Cabarrus County Public Library, 27 Union St. N., Concord, N.C. The next meeting will be on March 20.

Triad CFAC – The Triad CFAC member Terry Cox, who works as a Peer Support Specialist, was recently appointed to the Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Board of Directors representing Forsyth County. The Triad CFAC includes members and their family members from Forsyth, Davie, Stokes and Rockingham counties. The Triad CFAC meets on the second Monday of every month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Triad Community Office, 4045 University Parkway, Winston-Salem, N.C. The next meeting will be on March 12.

If you would like to contact one of your local CFACs to provide input regarding services, service gaps or any other issue, issue, email: memberquestions@cardinalinnovations.org .

Click here for more information about CFACs.


African-American Mental Health Care and Cultural Awareness 

brenden-hargett-email.jpgCulturally Competent mental health care for African-Americans requires a therapist who understands the cultural influences that may affect outcomes for the individual receiving treatment, says Brenden Hargett, Ph.D, LPC, LCAS, NCC, a manager on Cardinal Innovations Healthcare’s Utilization Management team. 

"National data and research demonstrate poor retention rates for African-Americans. You have to question what that is about," Hargett said.

Hargett leads a training called, "Effects of Cultural Trauma in African-Americans: Implications for Clinicians," intended to help clinicians understand the African-American experience and cultural differences so they have a better understanding of the individual seeking treatment. This training examines cultural and historical trauma among African-Americans and offers a culturally determined framework using trauma-informed principles to understand and address this phenomenon. The next class is on February 22 in Charlotte, N.C.

"After working with individuals in a number of settings, I've observed many times the behavioral health needs of African-Americans are under-addressed and often unidentified," Hargett said. "Just from an observational perspective, the question is are you taking that group's experiences and who they are into context?"

African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population, according to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. Common mental health disorders among African-Americans include: depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), suicide and Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Meanwhile, only about 25 percent of African-Americans seek mental health care compared to 40 percent of whites, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Hargett said part of the reason for that is a distrust of health care systems because of negative experiences that African-Americans have had with the health care in the past. Another problem is misdiagnosis and a lack of culturally competent care to provide the appropriate treatment.

When a 75-year-old African-American male comes through the door, for example, he comes bringing all of his life experiences with him, Hargett said.

"If he grew up in rural Mississippi, you should ponder, what were his life experiences? You're talking about a life experience that most likely, during his life, involved blatant racism and discrimination. This will affect his desire to seek help and to respond to treatment," Hargett said.

These experiences are then passed on from generation to generation. "What they (African-Americans) think or how they perceive the world can impact their emotional response. Behavioral health professionals should take into consideration all of these factors. We should honor them while guiding them towards wellness," Hargett said.

Also, culturally acceptable behavior differs for every group of people and, if this is not understood by a therapist/clinician, it can negatively influence the outcome of treatment, he said.

"African-Americans in general, may make less direct eye contact.  From a cultural aspect in families, younger children didn't always look directly into the eyes of their elders," Hargett said. "When this is experienced in treatment, it can easily be misinterpreted that they are avoiding eye contact or are not truthful. Even nonverbal and expressiveness can be misinterpreted. In general, African-Americans are expressive, animated and demonstrative. Some might see that as aggression."

Years ago, in a past workshop Hargett led, on perceptions of African Americans and working with families, he wore jeans, a football jersey and boots and walked into the classroom and engaged with the class as a participant. A colleague would start the class. Hargett would eventually take off the jersey and go to the front of the room to begin instruction.

"I watched the reactions of participants to my being in the room. Then I'd walk to the front of the room and pull off my outer layers and say let's talk about what you experienced," Hargett said. "When our members walk through the door, whatever you feel about them comes out in your disposition. In my opinion, one goal of a first session with a person of color is to get them back for a second session."

Often, African-Americans don't return because they are not entreated and engaged from the beginning, he said. "When they walk through the door, they're looking to see whether you are going to embrace them (emotionally) and treat them in a manner that shows you have their best interest in mind," he said.

Hargett encourages therapists to start by asking what the individual wants. You want to try and engage the individual by building trust.

"Let's talk about you. Let's talk about your experiences," he said. "I'll talk about something real or uncomfortable and then I'll talk about something soft or not as intrusive."

Hargett also encourages African-Americans to begin treatment with an open mind.

"Advocate for what you think you need. Don't necessarily settle for what someone tells you. Verify your information," he said. "Trust the process and ask questions. I think a lot of African Americans are disengaged and don't trust the process because of history and historical trauma. Trust the process. Advocate for yourself. If you need to solicit others to be there with you, do that."

For more information or to register for the "Effects of Cultural Trauma in African-Americans: Implications for Clinicians," training, click here.


Alamance County Mental Health/Substance Use Crisis Center 

bob-byrd-trey-sutten-email.jpgOn January 16, 2018, Cardinal Innovations Interim CEO Trey Sutten and Senior Community Executive Ric Bruton were on hand at the Alamance County Commissioners Meeting to announce Cardinal Innovations’ funding of the Alamance County Diversion and Restoration Center.

The $1.2 million grant from Cardinal Innovations will help support the development of a state-of-the-art center — a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week location for law enforcement officers to take nonviolent offenders having mental health or substance abuse crises. The Alamance County Diversion and Restoration Center will be the first of its kind in the state.

As part of the “Alamance County Steps Up” initiative, Cardinal Innovations’ funding supports Alamance County’s focus on the decrease of jail and emergency department admissions for persons experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. The Alamance County Diversion and Restoration Center will have a positive impact on both Alamance County and North Carolina as a whole - aiming to provide a safe space alternative to hospital emergency departments and jails allowing de-escalation, treatment, safety planning, and care coordination with a focus on an individual’s health, wellness and safety.


Service Spotlight


service-spotlight.jpgWraparound is an evidence-based model used by communities to support youth with complex needs. By developing individualized plans of care, Wraparound can support youth with mental health diagnoses that are living in their home community or those youth transitioning home from a residential setting.

The Wraparound plan is developed by a family-centered team, and personalized based on the strengths and culture of the child and their family, and is needs rather than services driven.

The Wraparound mantra of "do for, do with, cheer on" is used so that youth and families learn to do things on their own.

The expected outcomes of the Wraparound model are:

  • Improved youth functioning within the home, school and community
  • Reduction in crisis episodes and hospitalizations
  • Decrease in delinquent behavior
  • Improved family functioning
  • Ability of the youth/family to better identify and manage triggers and symptoms

A Wraparound facilitator shared one family's success story (names have been changed to protect confidentiality): Prior to beginning Wraparound, Jamie was living in a residential treatment facility and he was having aggression and episodes of acting out every day. Since receiving Wraparound services, Jamie's mother reported that Jamie's overall behavior has improved over the last year. He is less aggressive in the home and there haven't been any acts of physical aggression toward family members. He has had no hospitalizations since his involvement with Wraparound Services. Jamie has been able to play outside independently at his residence whereas before he was not trusted. Jamie and his family have identified more natural supports that can assist them on a day to day basis. Jamie has developed a cookbook with his Youth Partner of meals and snacks he can make independently. Jamie's siblings also share that they have learned a lot through receiving Wraparound Services. Due to positive progress, Jamie's mother has been able to take two mini vacations with friends which she hasn't been able to do in years.

High-Fidelity Wraparound is currently available for eligible members in Alamance, Caswell, Orange, Person, Chatham and Mecklenburg counties. To discuss your eligibility and options, call us at 1.800.939.5911.


Meet our Interim Chief Medical Officer 

dr-terri-harpold-email.jpgLast month, Dr. Terri Harpold was named Interim Chief Medical Officer for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare. In this role, she is responsible for providing clinical leadership to the organization, setting clinical strategic goals, direction and policy and providing oversight of policy and program implementation, including continuous quality improvement activities.

Harpold, a Board Certified Psychiatrist and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, completed her specialty training at the Harvard Medical School Massachusetts General Hospital in 2002. She has worked with patients of all ages and has more than 15 years of clinical psychiatric and executive leadership experience in academic, community, general medical and specialized healthcare settings.

Prior to joining Cardinal Innovations, Harpold served as a Regional Medical Director for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. She was responsible for developing and implementing regulations, policies, and procedures for the provision of high quality mental health care across the state and for developing criteria for authorization of DMH services.

Harpold oversaw the delivery of DMH services to individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) and those with co-occurring SMI and developmental or substance use disorders in the Southeastern geographic region of Massachusetts. She provided oversight of several state hospitals, clinics, crisis stabilization units, mobile emergency response teams, residential programs, day programs, and intensive integrated community care teams in the region. Dr. Harpold served as the regional clinical authority, managing high profile, strategic clinical relationships with internal and external stakeholders. She was responsible for monitoring contracted services and created more than 20 programs improving quality of patient care and utilization of resources.She also served on the Massachusetts Statewide Task Force on Autism and on the Plymouth County Sherriff and District Attorney’s Opioid Task Force.

Dr. Harpold received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University. She served as Instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She was awarded the Inaugural Norma Fine Faculty Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School to investigate pediatric and adult disorders and their treatment, with a focus on multiple co-occurring psychiatric conditions. She has published numerous articles on the treatment of psychiatric disorders in journals including the American Journal of Psychiatry and Journal of Affective Disorders as senior author.


Community Reinvestment Plan 

Community-Reinvestment-Initiative.jpgCardinal Innovations is soliciting Requests for Proposals (RFPs) through our new Community Reinvestment Initiative to fund high impact projects in the communities we serve.

Through the Community Reinvestment Initiative, Cardinal Innovations will support stable, sustainable projects that improve health outcomes of those we serve. All eligible entities are encouraged to apply. Complete details about this effort are posted on our website here.


Medicaid Waiver Update

NC-Innovations-waiver3.jpgThanks to all who participated in our Medicaid Waiver Survey. As we shared in last month's issue of Cardinal Innovations Community, North Carolina currently is renewing its Medicaid waivers with the federal government. We are compiling your feedback and suggestions for improvement to submit to the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) as the waiver renewal process moves forward. 

We anticipate the draft waivers, accompanied by a summary of proposed changes, will be posted by DMA for public comment within the coming weeks. We will share the latest information as soon as possible.

Training and Events

training-and-events3.jpgJoin us at an upcoming event or training session! 


Click here for a complete list of trainings and events across all of our communities.

Upcoming events include:


Now That I Am 18 Training

Cardinal Innovations will host several "Now That I Am 18" training sessions in the Triad and Northern regions on several dates through April 26, 2018. Now That I Am 18 training covers many topics including explanations of guardianship, recovery and how to get help from Cardinal Innovations. The training also covers which people who are supports or mentors and have your best interest in mind.

Understanding these questions and your rights as an 18 year old will help you make informed decisions, advocate for yourself and be a responsible member of society. Complete training information can be found here.


Family to Family Training  

NAMI-NW Piedmont, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will host a 12-session Family to Family course, which offers information for families coping with mental illness on Mondays March 5 through May 14 at Hillsdale Baptist Church in Advance, N.C. Pre-registration is required and the deadline to register is February 18. More information is available here.

Visit our training page to see all of our upcoming events and find out how you can schedule a training in your community.


Visit our training page to see all of our upcoming events and find out how you can schedule a training in your community.

In the News


Cardinal CEO seeks transparency, The Lexington Dispatch, Feb. 2, 2018

Interim Cardinal CEO Says He's Creating A Culture Of Transparency, WFAE, Jan. 30, 2018

New Cardinal board votes to restrict salaries and perks, Winston-Salem Journal, Jan. 30, 2018

DHHS transitions control of Cardinal Innovations to new board, leadership team, WBTV, Jan. 27, 2018

Medical professionals debunk drug abuse myths, The Lexington Dispatch, Jan. 27, 2018

Members and families - we want to hear from you!

What kind of information do you want to see? Have an idea for a story? Want to write something yourself? Let us know!


Send your feedback and ideas here.



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Sent on February 7, 2018



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