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RHA July 2018 Public Newsletter


July 2018 







Life. Journey.

Recovery. Hope.

RHA Hilltop to Address the Opioid and Substance Abuse Crisis    


RHA Health Services is opening a new service line, RHA Hilltop, to provide long term treatment and a full continuum of care to address the opioid and substance abuse crisis. Our goal is to help each person we support to understand their addictive disease and to establish a commitment to recovery.  The program was designed with SAMHSA's Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction.  RHA Hilltop is committed to providing this service with excellence and with the  highest quality of clinical care in our treatment programs.  We hope to expand coverage to more communities in the near future.  


 "From 1999 to 2016 more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdoses" according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services.  Nick Sulaiman, President of RHA says, "The need is great and we are prepared through RHA Hilltop to provide enhanced services across the state.  We see treatment as a gateway to recovery and a successful personal path to healthy living for all communities."  


RHA partners with local hospitals, ED's, Acute Care Units, private clinicians, physicians in family practice and OB-GYN,  and law enforcement and government officials. We are providing a variety of evidence-based practices including crisis services, specialized opioid treatment including Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), outpatient programs including Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient(SAIOP), Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment (SACOT), and non-hospital detox. 

Pam Stalls  




Leading the RHA Hilltop effort is Pam Stalls, LCAS, CCS,LMFT, Executive Senior  Director of Substance Abuse  



Sara Huffman, LCSW, is our new Substance Abuse Services Program Manager. 



Sara Huffman



 Changing Futures 

                    "I believe in myself today"       

An open letter of love, hope, and support in recovery.  Linda F. reveals her touching and courageous journey with the help of the SAIOP program and her counselors, Nancy, Cole, and Harvey.   SAIOP, Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program, consists of structured Individual, group and family therapy, case management support, substance use/addiction education, and relapse prevention planning. This program helps participants learn healthy coping skills and develop an individualized recovery plan.

" Saiop groups has had a big impact on my life.  Through out my journey here I was able to learn a lot about my disease and the impact drugs had on me and others.

Read More



Employee Spotlight 

Erma Jean Lowery wins 2018 Direct Support Champion  

Submitted by Submitted by Tonya Self   Augusta, Georgia 


"Erma Jean Lowery is from Thomson, Georgia. She knew her destiny was in the field of mental health and developmental disabilities after attending a school field trip to Gracewood State Mental hospital.  Ten years later she began her career.

Ms. Lowery is currently a Home Manager for RHA Health Services in the Augusta area. The standard of her professional integrity is outstanding by all accounts.  The group home where she works wins numerous awards.  She's been recognized by the Department of Behavioral Health Developmental Disability regional nursing staff, licensing staff from the Healthcare Facility Regulation Division, and the Department of Justice.

She also has a wonderful way of getting the people she supports involved in their community.  Her outstanding service and accomplishments are a wonderful testimony to what a difference we can make in the world if we hold the service of others as a passion. SPADD is proud to name Erma Lowery as the 2018 Direct Support Champion. "



DSP Courtney Williams-Team player to team leader!

Submitted by Jackie Pipes     Springfield, TN

Courtney Williams has been with our Tennessee program for over six years. The program recently joined the RHA Health Services family and Courtney was exemplary in her versatility and willingness to adapt to the changes during that transition.

With the changes, she was assigned to the West Hillcrest Home program.  She stepped into a new environment and took on the challenge of becoming a mentor to all new staff. She brought a fresh set of eyes into the home and sought out ways to improve the quality of life for the people we support. She encourages the women living in the group home to try new things and to seek out new opportunities that they never knew existed. We frequently hear back from the clients and staff about the dignity and respect they receive from her.  Courtney has always been a team player, but she has now gone from being a team player to a team leader!  

Read More 





RHA Creates New Intervention Curriculum for New Employees

Submitted by Genny Pugh, The Genevieve Group 

Program Leader

L-R Erika Odom, Cristin Parrish, Kenneth Martin, Genny Pugh, Benedetta Kelly, Kenya Kelly.  Also an Instructor Trainer, but not pictured, is Ron Hawkins.

ProAct is a proprietary preventive intervention curriculum created by RHA for new employee orientation training and annual refresher/recertification. The curriculum emphasizes evidence based practices and a cross disabilities focus and received approval from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  

"RHA Leadership wanted ProAct to reflect the principles, values and mission of the organization and with their commitment and support, we achieved that goal," says Consultant Genny Pugh.    

 Kenneth Martin has taken a lead role in working with the Instructor Trainers to implement the new curriculum which focuses on prevention and de-escalation of crisis behavior and contains physical techniques in addition to other strategies for crisis management.  The curriculum has measurable learning objectives for each unit and requires written and practical testing for competence.

Read More 




Fred Nelson

Benson Museum Selects RHA's Fred Nelson  

As Black History Honoree 


The votes have been tallied! The Board of Directors of the Benson Museum of Local History has selected the 2018 Black History Month honoree - former Benson commissioner Frederick D. Nelson, Jr.  Fred is the Administrator of our Benson, NC unit and has been with RHA for 15 years.  We are so proud!


An excerpt from that proclamation exemplifies why the Museum Board sought to honor Mr. Nelson at the upcoming Black History celebration.

"(Mr. Nelson) bears part of the responsibility for the progress that has been made in Benson over the past two decades. He has served as a faithful servant for the citizens of Benson. Always present, always prepared and always engaged," it reads. Slow to anger but quick to address issues that affect the people of Benson, particularly those who may be overlooked and their concerns not represented. He is a man whom God has blessed with wisdom." 

Read More

0pioids: The epidemic, abuse and misuse, hope, and solutions

Submitted by Heather Daniels, Prevention Specialist I

At the inaugural Student Summit, teens from Buncombe and surrounding counties gathered to talk opioids: the epidemic, abuse and misuse, hope, and solutions.  They took an unflinching look at the opioid epidemic that has swept the nation.  

RHA's Prevention Coordinators, Basil Savitsky and Michèle Barkett, along with Prevention Specialist Sherry Holder were at the forefront of planning the first ever Student Summit held at Western Carolina's Biltmore Park Campus in April.  

Read More







Taking a Holistic Approach to the Opioid Epidemic




September 2018 is

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month


 Passageways PSR in Lexington, NC does great things!









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Creative Director
Debbie Valentine


Contributing Writers

Pam Stalls
Sara Huffman
Emily Featherstone
Tonya Self
Jackie Pipes
Carmella Phillips

Genny Pugh
Alena Davis Heather Daniels
Laura Marcum
Carlo Black



We Honor Our Nurses  

for National Nurses Week 2018!  


Our job is to help people; to love people; to stand together; to make a difference in the lives of the people and families we serve.  RHA is a community of these people...these nurses that you are proud to call your co-workers, family, and friends.  

  -Alena Davis, Director of Corporate Nursing  

Read More 





Around the Company 


Ryan S. Wins VSA Award

Sumitted by Laura Marcum     River Bend New Bern, NC



Ryan S. is eight years old and a talented young student living at the RHA River Bend Center in New Bern, NC.  He attends public school and has a special interest in the world as well as "all things art".   His art teacher at RHA , Beth Gosnell, quickly realized that Ryan had a special gift and encouraged his artistic expressions by way of stimulating art media and content to help inspire his creations.   


She submitted his work to VSA or "Very Special Arts", which is an international organization that was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith. VSA's mission is to provide arts and educational opportunities to people with disabilities and to increase access to the arts for all. They are a part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

Read More 


Nick A Takes Gold Medal

Sumitted by Laura Marcum     River Bend New Bern, NC



Nick joined the RHA River Bend family on January 12, 2018 and quickly made his desire and love of water sports and swimming very clear, attending pool activities at every opportunity!

Nick's swimming instructor, Mary Dwyer,  instantly recognized Nick's abilities and signed him up to compete in the Craven County April Showers Special Olympics Invitational Swim Meet.  On April 14, 2018 Nick competed in his first competition in New Bern, NC.   


We are all very excited and proud of Nick for bringing home the Gold Medal in the Ten Meter Assisted Freestyle Swimming Event.
Read More 



 RHA Behavioral Health Seeks CARF Accreditation

Submitted by Carmela E. Phillips, MBA, CCP 

Executive Director of Compliance & Quality Assurance  


As a continuation of RHA's pursuit of excellence, selected RHA behavioral health services in North Carolina  are pursuing accreditation by CARF International.  


RHA has established a CARF Readiness Team to take the lead in preparing for the survey of 19 local service locations. CARF Survey teams will review NC RHA sites offering routine outpatient, facility based crisis, detox, SAIOP, and SACOT services.

Read more 



Thank you for reading our newsletter! Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.   


Download the July 2018 newsletter