Monthly Archives: February 2012

Rosecrance executive Abate named 'Woman of the Year' by magazine

Judges call Abate ‘dedicated,’ ‘tireless,’ ‘creative’

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ROCKFORD – Mary Ann Abate, vice president and chief operating officer for mental health services for Rosecrance Health Network, was named “Woman of the Year” for 2012 by Rockford Woman magazine for her outstanding work in the mental health field.

In selecting Abate from among 40 nominees and five finalists for the award, the judges noted several programs Abate led or influenced that changed the lives of people with mental illness:

    She helped to create and supervised Winnebago County’s mental health court, which has been recognized as one of the most successful programs of its type in the country. She has been on the leadership team for a similar court to serve juveniles involved in the justice system. That special courtroom will begin serving families this spring.
    She developed the contract between what is now the Rosecrance Ware Center (formerly Janet Wattles Center) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for Winnebago and Boone counties.
    She helped to create and implement crisis intervention training for law enforcement officers in Winnebago County who deal with individuals in mental health crisis. Almost 300 officers have been trained.
    In her role at Rosecrance, Abate is helping to create new programming to serve individuals with dual diagnoses of mental health and substance use disorders, as well as new programs for women who have suffered trauma.

Announcing the honor in the March/April issue of Rockford Woman, the judges wrote: “Mary Ann Abate has dedicated herself to bringing mental health issues to the forefront of our community for more than 40 years . . . She wholeheartedly understands what is needed to provide and support mental health workers for the future. We applaud her for her tireless efforts and thank her for reminding all of us why mental health is important to our community.”

Abate is a licensed social worker with a master’s degree in community mental health. She is involved in numerous local and state boards and commissions on issues related to mental health, including the Mental Health Advisory Board for Illinois.

The magazine quoted Rosecrance President/CEO Philip W. Eaton, who said of Abate: “Mary Ann has compassion and cares deeply for the people we serve, and she treats everyone – from co-workers to clients – with the same kindness, respect and unconditional regard.”

Judy Emerson
Director of Communications
Rosecrance Health Network
1021 N. Mulford Road
Rockford, IL 61107
815.387.5605 (office); 815.262.4685 (cell)

About Rosecrance
Rosecrance is a private not-for-profit organization offering behavioral health services for more than 14,000 children, adolescents, adults and families each year. Rosecrance provides addiction treatment through inpatient and outpatient programs in Rockford, IL, and services at six satellite offices in Chicagoland. In addition, Rosecrance offers community mental health services in Rockford and Belvidere. The organization was founded in 1916.

Video: Rosecrance unveils two more Chicagoland PSAs

Rosecrance has unveiled two new public service announcements as part of a campaign in Chicagoland.

One spot is 30 seconds long. The other is two minutes.

The PSAs, produced by Oak Brook Productions, are a follow-up to previous PSAs that ran on WGN and CLTV in Chicago. Viewers in the Rockford market also may be able to view the spots, depending their television service provider.

View the public service announcements below:

Rosecrance announces staff achievements, promotions

Chief Medical Officer appointed to national ethics panel

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ROCKFORD – Dr. Thomas Wright, chief medical officer for Rosecrance Health Network, has been asked to join a newly established national advisory board on medical ethics.

The goal of Editorial Advisory Board of the Physicians Index for Ethics in Medicine is to provide practicing physicians insight into the most relevant bioethical issues of the day. Wright, who is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, brings the behavioral health perspective to the six-member panel.

A native of Illinois, Wright received his medical training at the University of Illinois. He has taught at Northwestern University and at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago and in Rockford. He received the Faculty Teaching Award last year for his work at UI in Rockford. He serves on a variety of medical panels in Illinois and Wisconsin and has received many awards and recognitions for leadership in psychiatric medicine. He came to Rosecrance in 2007.

Richard Lovitt, Rosecrance accounting manager, has been licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Lovitt, who has a finance degree from Illinois State Universty and an MBA from Rockford College, has been with Rosecrance for seven years.

Mary Roufa has been named Manager of Community Services and Support for Rosecrance. In her 20 years with Rosecrance, Roufa has held a variety of positions and most recently was Family Program Coordinator at the Griffin Williamson Adolescent Treatment Center. She will continue her leadership role with the family program as she assumes responsibilities for alumni and volunteer activities for the Rosecrance Substance Abuse Division.

Anne Fridh is the new Director of Performance Improvement for Rosecrance. She joins Rosecrance with extensive experience overseeing treatment programs and services in Illinois and other states. She will lead the quality management/performance improvement teams. Fridh has a Doctor of Psychology degree from Argosy University.

Judy Emerson
Director of Communications
Rosecrance Health Network
1021 N. Mulford Road
Rockford, IL 61107
815.387.5605 (office); 815.262.4685 (cell)
jemerson (at)

About Rosecrance
Rosecrance is a private not-for-profit organization offering behavioral health services for more than 14,000 children, adolescents, adults and families each year. Rosecrance provides addiction treatment through inpatient and outpatient programs in Rockford, IL, and services at six satellite offices in the Chicago area. Rosecrance offers community mental health services, including emergency services for adults and children, in Rockford and Belvidere. The organization was founded in 1916. (More information at

2012 Rosecrance Foundation Benefit


ROCKFORD – Rock ‘n’ roll sensation Michael Cavanaugh returns to the city on April 16 to headline the annual Rosecrance Foundation Benefit, which raises funds to serve clients who need financial assistance for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

The theme for the 2012 event is “Encore for Recovery,” marking both Cavanaugh’s return to the stage at Giovanni’s and the return of several Rosecrance alumni to tell their stories of hope. Some of these former patients have spoken at previous Benefits.

The event is set for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $175 each or $1,500 for a table of 10. Sponsorships are still available. Buy tickets online here.

Backed by his band, the Tony- and Grammy-nominated Cavanaugh will present a program titled, “The Songs of Elton John and More.” A high-energy pianist and singer, Cavanaugh is being called the “New Voice of the Rock and Roll Songbook” for performances that pay tribute to the best songs of the genre. Since his successful run on Broadway in the hit musical “Movin’ Out,” Cavanaugh has been on tour performing sell-out programs with the nation’s premier symphonies.

Lynne Vass, Sr. VP of Development for Rosecrance, said Cavanaugh put on a stellar performance at the 2008 Rosecrance Benefit, prompting many regular attendees to ask for an encore.

“He is an enormously talented and engaging artist, and he understands our mission,” Vass said. “He was a big hit four years ago when he visited the adolescent campus in the afternoon to meet and sing for the kids. Then, he wowed the Benefit audience in the evening.”

The goal of the annual Foundation Benefit is to support The Kinley Charity Care Fund. The fund provides care for adolescents and adults whose families need financial help for treatment of substance use and/or mental health disorders.

Last year, The Kinley Fund provided a record amount of financial assistance to families seeking treatment for a loved one. The fund offered more than $425,000 in care to 262 adolescent and adult patients.

John Griffin, chairman of the Foundation Board, expressed gratitude for the generosity of benefactors in the community who support The Kinley Fund through the Benefit.

“Thousands of families have been helped through the years and many lives have been saved and permanently changed because of caring people in this community,” Griffin said.“With our troubled economy still creating pressure on families, the need is greater than ever. I’m confident that the amount of support will be greater than ever, as well.”

Since The Kinley Fund was established in 1984, it has provided almost $5 million in charity care to patients.

Each year, the Benefit features a gourmet meal, first-class entertainment and Stories of Hope from former Rosecrance patients. Also, a friend of Rosecrance will receive the Castle Award this year to recognize his or her outstanding service to the organization. The award is named for the late Clarence and Millard Castle, a father and son whose combined service to the Rosecrance board totaled more than 100 years. The 2012 Castle Award recipient has not been announced.

For information about tickets or sponsorships, call Lynne Vass at 815.387.5602 or email her here.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.

February edition of the Rosecrance enewsletter available

The February edition of the Rosecrance enewsletter is now available. This month, we’re highlighting the impact the Rosecrance Experiential Therapies Department has on people in substance abuse recovery. The newsletter also includes information on giving to Rosecrance, upcoming trainings, news and more!

Click here to read the newsletter.

Click here to subscribe by email.

Rosecrance's Abate named Woman of Year by Rockford Woman magazine

Pam Maher (from left), Carol Bennett, Mary Ann Abate, Kris Kieper and Christina Gloria pose for a photo after Abate was named Rockford Woman magazine’s Woman of the Year on Feb. 23 at a ceremony at Franchesco’s Ristorante in Rockford.

Mary Ann Abate, Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of Rosecrance’s Mental Health Division, has been named Woman of the Year by Rockford Woman magazine.

The award, which is given annually by the editors of the magazine, was presented at a Feb. 23 ceremony at Franchesco’s Ristorante in Rockford.

Rockford Woman magazine wrote about Abate:

A tragedy occurs and we ask ourselves, “What happened that someone could do such a thing?” We turn away the alarming news, turn off our television and go about our business. However, this Woman of the Year does not turn away. Mary Ann Abate has dedicated herself to bringing mental health issues to the forefront of our community for more than 40 years.

Mary Ann has worked tirelessly since starting as a licensed social worker for Janet Wattles to her current position as chief operating officer of the Mental Health Division of the Rosecrance Health Network.

Abate was nominated for the award in December. Other nominees were Carol Bennett, Cristina Gloria, Kris Kieper and Pam Maher. Rockford Woman magazine profiled each of the nominees at the time of their nominations.

The five finalists were chosen by the magazine’s advisory board from 40 nominees.

Read what the judges said about Abate here.

Read the complete article about Abate’s Woman of the Year award here.

Vets project highlights role of Rosecrance experiential therapies program

February marked the inauguration of Therapeutic Recreation Month, a national campaign that highlights how therapeutic recreational therapy can improve quality of life, increase independence and promote health and wellness for people in recovery.

Rosecrance embraces these concepts as part of a nationally recognized experiential therapies program at both the adult and adolescent substance abuse campuses.

Kari Fager, Certified Recreational Therapist Specialist (CTRS), said that the skills patients learn in treatment can help them sustain recovery when they return home. Fager is the therapeutic art and recreation supervisor at the Harrison Campus, the adult treatment center.

“We specifically help them to explore the benefits of leisure, physical activity, and relaxation skills through learning yoga and other meditation techniques, as well as teaching the connection between wellness and recovery,” Fager said.

Art therapy – while different from therapeutic recreational therapy – also is part of the experiential therapies program at Rosecrance, and offers many of the same benefits to people in recovery.

“Patients take a metaphoric look at themselves, their future goals, current road blocks, subconscious thoughts and current feelings,” said Jada Miller, art therapist at the Harrison Campus . “Patients come to embrace learning about themselves and their recovery in a visual way.”

Art therapy gives patients tools to help them better understand their own motivations and behaviors, Miller said.

Valentines for Veterans, a Valentine’s Day project at Rosecrance Harrison Campus, highlighted the impact of the experiential therapies program.

More than 120 hand-made cards were created as part of Valentines for Veterans. Some were presented to vets receiving care through Rosecrance, and the rest were delivered to the VFW Post in Loves Park, which participated in the federal program to distribute the cards.

The project allowed patients receiving inpatient treatment at Rosecrance’s adult substance abuse treatment campus to work on their own recovery while reaching out to thank veterans who otherwise might be forgotten on Valentine’s Day.

“Projects like Valentines for Veterans give patients an opportunity to show their gratitude for the things in life they may not have thought about during their active addiction,” Miller said. “It gives them a chance to look at the bigger picture in sobriety, while also feeling a sense of pride in helping others”

Rosecrance responds to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's budget address

In his Feb. 22 budget address, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced plans to close Rockford’s Singer Mental Health Center. He did not indicate where residents would be relocated.

Rosecrance Health Network President/CEO Philip W.Eaton has issued a response:

We understand the closing of Singer, and it appears to make sense considering the critical financial condition of the state of Illinois. However, we are concerned about a transition plan for these individuals to proper care or to services in the community.

We learned from the round of hearings last year when the closure idea was first proposed that citizens of this state want appropriate care for this population. The committee that was charged with making the recommendation on closure concluded that the state was not ready with a transition plan.

Now, it is critical that the state and appropriate parties in communities begin making a solid plan to care for this vulnerable population.

We are ready to play a role in creating a transition plan for individuals who need the services that currently are being offered at Singer. We desperately need those services in our community and the ramifications of not having them will be dramatic.

Without appropriate transition services and ongoing community-based care, there is great danger of very vulnerable people falling through the cracks. We can expect more and more people to start showing up in emergency rooms, in the backs of police cars or ambulances.

Other portions of the budget speech announced significant cuts to an array of state programs and services. The state currently owes Rosecrance $9 million for mental health and substance abuse services already given to clients.

Rosecrance Chief Financial Officer John Schuster issued a response to the cuts:

Just Medicaid alone is a significant cut. The governor proposed an 18 percent cut. That would be a cut of about $1.8 million for us. And then he proposed 40 percent cut in mental health grants. How bad that is depends on how it’s implemented, whether it is a mix of rates and eligibility and types of services covered. The bottom line is it hits the most vulnerable people.

The overall impact is difficult to determine right now, but on the face of it, it appears that we would see a reduction of about $3 million in state funding that Rosecrance uses to serve the most vulnerable people.

This is a starting point for our planning, but we still have to see what the Legislature does and how Department of Human Services implements the inevitable reductions.

Eaton and Schuster both were quoted in this Rockford Register Star article on the budget.

Study: Alcohol in movies may lead to underage drinking

The journal BMJ Open reports that watching movies that feature alcohol consumption doubles the likelihood that teens will start drinking alcohol.

According to

The two-year study of more than 6,500 American kids, ages 10 to 14, also found that teens who are exposed to alcohol-fueled movies are more likely to progress to binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row) HealthDay reports.

Study findings show that the proportion of kids who started drinking alcohol more than doubled from 11 percent to 25 percent, and the proportion of those who started binge drinking tripled from 4 percent to 13 percent.

Teens being exposed to movies that feature alcohol use led to 28 percent of kids drinking alcohol and of those teens, 20 percent moved on to binge drinking, noted the survey. Researchers also underscored that the association was not only seen with movie characters who drank on-screen, but also with alcohol product placement throughout the movies.

Read the complete story from The Partnership for here.

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Call 888-928-5278 or 815-391-1000 for more information.