LAHC to honor Tom Watkins at annual gala

LAHC to honor Tom Watkins at annual gala
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LAHC to honor Tom Watkins at annual gala

LAHC to present Tom Watkins with the Excellence & Great Achievements Award during Annual Gala

LAHC is pleased to announce that Mr. Tom Watkins, President and CEO of Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority-DWMHA is the recipient of the 2017 Excellence and Great Achievements Award. This honor will be bestowed upon him during the LAHC 29th Annual Awards Gala scheduled to take place on Thursday, April 6th, 2017 at the Edward Hotel- Dearborn.

Tom Watkins currently serves as the President and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority (DWMHA). Working with a dedicated community board of directors, leadership team, staff and host of provider networks to manage and lead a comprehensive system of care that offers treatment and support to approximately 80,000 people with mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities and substance use disorders. He has instilled the mantra of being consumer and community focused, evidence-based and data driven throughout DWMHA. Under his leadership, the DWMHA system of care has begun to examine current practices and reduce administrative costs in order to deliver as much funding as possible for quality programs and services as the organization continues to “put people first”.

“We are honored to recognize the tremendous contributions and unremitting efforts of Mr. Watkins to ensure our community has the most necessary resources available in mental health and substance abuse services.” stated Wassim Mahfouz, LAHC Senior Executive Director. “His commitment to supporting the health needs of all communities is worthy of recognition and we are proud to honor him with the Excellence and Great Achievements award.”

His career and commitment to serving people spans over three decades. Tom served as Deputy Director of Administration, Chief Deputy and Director of the State Department of Mental Health under Governor Jim Blanchard. Here he improved community-based service delivery to over 300,000 consumers and was responsible for re-accrediting hospitals serving persons with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.

“I’m humbled to be recognized as a leader in the ongoing work to promote awareness of mental health issues in our communities. The work we do at Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority provides supports and helps to develop an inclusive community with the diversity-promoting programs and initiatives of LAHC.” Stated Tom Watkins, President and CEO of DWMHA. “Together, let’s continue to build bridges instead of walls, as we treat all citizens with dignity and respect.” Finished Watkins.

Tom served the citizens of Michigan as State Superintendent of Schools; there he used a yard stick in his office as a guide to other staffers. The yard stick was a reminder that their service, care and advice – must all “measure up” to the quality that would be acceptable to what would be offered to their own children and family members.

His commitment to improving the quality of life of others has taken him from schools, to group homes to mental hospitals. He is passionate about his work and passionate about helping people.

LAHC is a human services organization with a mission to empower communities, one family at a time, by advancing the social, educational and economic well-being of Southeast Michigan Residents. Using a holistic approach to addressing community issues, LAHC staff and volunteers work to meet the needs of both individuals and families regardless of race, religion, ethnic background, gender, country of origin or sexual orientation.

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RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

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