Since my recovery from diagnoses of acute paranoid schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and manic depression, I have been involved in promoting recovery, and now spiritual healing. Currently, I am retired from my position as the Executive Director of ACMHS Consumer Driven Services, LLC, an affiliate of Anchorage Community Mental Health Services, Inc. (now known as Alaska Behavioral Health).

I served on the Alaska Mental Health Board, having been appointed by several Governors of Alaska, and also serving as Chairperson. I was on contract with the Alaska Psychiatric Institute to establish the Office of Consumer and Family Affairs.

Previously, I served six years as Director of Consumer Affairs and Development for the Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health. Before that, Elgin Mental Health Center in Elgin, Illinois contracted with me as a consumer advocate. I worked in this capacity for 16 months, providing patient sensitivity training. Furthermore, I was involved in interviewing patients on all units, including forensics, regarding patient opinions about services.

Additionally, I served on the Board of Directors to the Alaska Mental Health Association; the Board of Directors and Advisory Board to Advocacy Services of Alaska (currently known as Disability Law Center) under the Federal Protection and Advocacy Act; and the Board of Directors of the Alaska Alliance for the Mentally Ill. I received protection and advocacy training by the Mental Health Law Project (now known as the Bazelon Center) and the National Protection and Advocacy Systems.

With Jim Gottstein and another individual, we co-founded Mental Health Consumers of Alaska where I served as the first President. In this position, with Jim, we successfully lobbied the Alaska Legislature for $125,000 to develop Alaska’s first consumer-run organization. I developed and wrote the first grant and then served as the first Executive Director. Under my leadership, Mental Health Consumers of Alaska’s first-year program grant was rated 12th out of 46 community mental health programs statewide.

As one of five U.S. consumer representatives invited for the first time by the World Federation on Mental Health to attend the World Congress on Mental Health held in Auckland, New Zealan, I headed up the U.S. team of consumers who delivered consumer training and workshops at the conference. I worked for GROW (founded in Sydney, Australia in 1957) in Illinois and Delaware, developing 12-step recovery groups for people with mental illness.

I am a member on the National Advisory Council for the National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability, Department of Psychiatry, the University of Illinois at Chicago; and served on the Advisory Council to the University of Chicago Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation.

As President of Peer Properties in Anchorage, Alaska, I managed a peer-run landlord-tenant non-profit whose purpose was to provide safe, affordable, accessible and decent housing for homeless adults with mental illness or co-occurring disorders.

In my role as Secretary on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Consumer/Survivor Mental Health Administrators, we worked to increase consumer participation and peer services in mental health not only nationally but on statewide levels as well. Additionally, I was a member of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) President’s Task Force on Employment.

Lastly, in 1999, President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton, Vice President Gore and Mrs. Gore invited me to attend the White House Conference on Mental Health in Washington, D.C.