Nominations open for 2022 Hamilton Awards

Hamilton Center, Inc. (HCI) is now accepting nominations for the 2022 Hamilton Awards.  Each year Hamilton Center recognizes community members, local organizations, and HCI staff who have made significant contributions to the cause of mental health and the quality of life for residents living in central and west central Indiana.

Katherine Hamilton fought for the inclusion, acceptance, and support of those struggling with mental illness in the early 1960’s. She emphasized the importance of community in her life’s work.  In this spirit, Hamilton Center awards were created to recognize individuals and organizations that have advanced the cause of behavioral health or addiction services, benefitted those suffering from a mental illness, or contributed to the mission of Hamilton Center, Inc. 

Hamilton Center invites the community to participate in this year’s awards by nominating an individual, group, business, or industry that has demonstrated qualifications for a Hamilton Award.

Hamilton Center will host the annual Hamilton Awards on Tuesday, October 25, 5:30 pm, at Sycamore Banquet Center on the campus of Indiana State University.  Additional event details will be forthcoming.  

To submit nominations for the 2022 Hamilton Awards please visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/hamiltonawards.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional health system in central and west central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, Ind.  Services are provided to children, youth, and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Hamilton Center, Inc. takes over downtown Terre Haute for Employee Kickoff

On Friday, July 15th, Hamilton Center, Inc. took over downtown Terre Haute for a few hours, treating its more than 660 orange-clad employees to breakfast at one of several local eateries before convening at Indiana State University’s Tilson Auditorium for the company’s 10th annual Employee Kickoff celebration.

The event, which took place two weeks after the conclusion of the HCI fiscal year, served to honor the employees for their accomplishments of the past year as well as to share goals and objectives for the next 12 months. Many employees took home one of several thousand dollars’ worth of prizes in a raffle drawing, ranging from TVs to recreational equipment and kitchen appliances.

Melvin L. Burks, President/CEO of the mental health facility, served as master of ceremonies. He noted that the company has greatly reduced its number of employees working remotely due to COVID-19, and the event was a chance for everyone to get together again.

“I want to thank all of you for coming daily to serve our consumers,” Burks said. “That is our number one goal. My main reason for being here is to serve our consumers at a quality level.  I want you all to know, that from myself and the management team that we appreciate everything you have done for our corporation and our consumers,” he added. “I can’t say that enough. We cannot make it without you. I am going to work hard to make sure you have a good life, and you can go home and take care of your family.”

Four employees were honored as the outstanding employees of the quarter – Lila Wilson (clubhouse generalist), Lisa McKillop (housekeeping supervisor at the corporate building), Maria Ramos (mental health technician at the Fort Harrison Group Home) and Sabrina Harroll (therapist in Clay County). Executive coordinator Torre Anderson was also recognized at employee of the year.

Nichelle Washington, the company’s executive director of quality and compliance, led the team which organized the event.

“Some of you may not have been here for all 10 years of Employee Kickoffs, Mr. Burks wanted to do this to help kick off our next fiscal year and not only serve our consumers but also serve our communities,” she said. “We serve one another, and our community partners. We want to thank Mr. Burks for making this possible for us.”

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, Ind.  Services are provided to children, youth, and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Celebrate diversity and inclusion during the 2022 Diversity Walk

On Saturday, August 27, Terre Haute and surrounding communities will come together to celebrate diversity and inclusion during the eighth annual Diversity Walk.

The Diversity Walk is a free event in downtown Terre Haute that welcomes all people of varying ages, races, creeds, colors, orientations, and abilities. Join us as we “Walk the Walk” to unify our community and spread messages of respect and acceptance.

The 1.5-mile walk will begin and end at the corner of 6th and Ohio, in the First Financial Bank parking lot, in downtown Terre Haute. Registration will open at 9 a.m., and the walk will begin at 10:00 a.m.

Following the walk, participants are invited to stay for a brief program and an opportunity to come together in unity to celebrate the differences that make our community stronger. Over the past seven years, thousands have attended this important event, and the hope is that the 2022 event is even bigger than ever before.

WHAT: 8th Annual Diversity Walk

WHEN: Saturday, August 27, 2022

  • 9 a.m. – On-site registration & T-shirt pickup
  • 9:45 a.m. – Opening Remarks
  • 10:00 a.m. – Walk Begins

WHERE: Downtown Terre Haute, 7th Street and Wabash Avenue

REGISTER: Registration is FREE and includes a T-shirt. Register online at www.diversitywalk.org.

You can register as an individual participant, and we have a new team registration option as well. Forming or joining a team is a great way to experience an event! The camaraderie and support you’ll feel from the rest of your team is like no other. By forming a team during the registration process, you will become the designated team captain and will be in charge of rallying your team for the big day!

The Diversity Walk brings together a diverse group of people to break down barriers, build relationships and show what’s possible with the right access, opportunities, and support. Together, we “Walk the Walk” and celebrate the strides we’re taking to educate the community about the value of diversity and inclusion and the positive impact that it could have on our region’s socio-economic strength and quality of life for all.

About the Diversity Walk

The Diversity Walk was originally conceived in 2014 as part of a community-wide Terre Haute Tomorrow initiative. Melvin L. Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc., served as the chair of the Terre Haute Tomorrow Diversity/Socio-economic Committee, and the theme for the Committee was “building relationships and enhancing trust.” The Committee focused its efforts on finding ways to educate the community about diversity and inclusion and the positive impact that it could have on our region’s socio-economic strength and quality of life for all. The Diversity Walk was created as a result of these efforts, and it has grown to include more than 5,000 participants. Hamilton Center Inc., with a group of many dedicated community leaders meet throughout the year to plan the event, raise awareness, and help make diversity and inclusion a strategic priority for Terre Haute’s tomorrow. For more information about the Diversity Walk, visit www.diversitywalk.org.

NaloxBox at WIN Recovery Providing Needed Resource

WIN Recovery, a certified opioid treatment facility operated by Hamilton Center Inc., saw evidence of a community need being met in the first month with the self-service “NaloxBox” added to the outside of its Terre Haute location (located at 86 Wabash Court, just west of the Vigo County Courthouse).  This box distributes naloxone (also known as Narcan) for free to consumers, family members, or anyone from the public on a no questions asked basis. During April, dosages were distributed at a rate of more than one per day – with 31 in all.

Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration that is effective in preventing death by rapidly reversing the effects of an overdose from opioids, and doses distributed through the WIN Recovery NaloxBox are administered via nasal spray.

Mark Collins, Chief Clinical Officer for Hamilton Center, admits he and his staff had no idea how much usage the NaloxBox would get in its first month.

“What we do know is that we want to give as many individuals the capability of having Naloxone at their disposal as humanly possible because Naloxone prevents overdose deaths,” he said. “What we’re trying to promote is harm reduction. Most importantly, we want to keep individuals alive, and Naloxone keeps individuals alive.”

Collins termed the volume of dosages distributed as “incredibly beneficial to our community” with hopes of that number increasing as more people are aware of the program.

“Having 31 doses in the first month shows that there’s a need within the community, and hopefully this will continue to decrease the overdose deaths in our communities, which is the ultimate goal” Collins said. “We will continue to advocate for the use of Naloxone within our communities.”

The box was provided by Overdose Lifeline, a non-profit organization which has fought the opioid addiction problem since 2014. Designated HCI/WIN Recovery staff will monitor the box, track its usage, and order free replacement kits as needed from Overdose Lifeline’s Indianapolis office.

State and federal funding has been utilized to cover the cost of the program, with support also coming from the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction.

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Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, adults, and families, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Hamilton Center increasing salaries, benefits for Nurse Practitioners

Like all businesses, Hamilton Center, Inc. is committed to recruiting and retaining top talent, and the organization is building on this commitment by increasing salaries and boosting benefits for Nurse Practitioners — including a $5,000 sign on bonus and two weeks of PTO on the first day of employment.

A 2020 survey by flexjobs.com indicated that salary was the top factor considered by its job applicants in deciding which offer to accept (67 percent of applicants). HCI will be making aggressive changes to its salary schedule for nurse practitioners to help satisfy this desire. Hamilton Center’s revised starting full-time salaries for Nurse Practitioners:

  • $145,000
  • $150,000 – with five years of experience

Melvin L. Burks, President and CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc., said the changes are necessary in order for the facility to continue to serve the 12 communities in which HCI has offices.

“If we cannot serve our consumers, then our consumers may lose hope,” he said. “It’s important that we get these positions filled. In addition to starting salary, we have an ‘a la carte’ menu of benefits from which candidates can draw.”

The “a la carte” benefits menu will allow candidates to choose the benefit options that are most appealing to them. Among the items on the list are:

  • Student loan reimbursement upon hire
  • Telehealth work from home options available
  • Monthly stipend in lieu of selecting HCI insurance coverage
  • Flexible schedules (potential of four 10-hour days or three 12-hour days per week)
  • Monthly stipends to assist childcare costs

Applicants will be able to choose “two or three” additional benefits to add to their compensation.

“Hamilton Center is committed to reinventing the way we see employment,” Burks said. “Stop on by. Let’s find a way.”

To learn more about employment opportunities at Hamilton Center, visit https://www.hamiltoncenter.org/employment/ or call 812-231-8532. The organization also holds open interviews every Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at its corporate office at 620 Eighth Avenue in Terre Haute, Ind.

To apply online, visit www.hamiltoncenter.org/employment.

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Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, adults, and families, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Check out our other related content:

WIN Recovery Installs NaloxBox

According to overdoselifeline.org, opioid overdose is the leading cause of death in the United States among adults 50 years old and younger.

WIN Recovery, a certified opioid treatment facility operated by Hamilton Center, Inc., has added another tool in its fight to battle this growing problem by establishing a “NaloxBox” at its Terre Haute location (located at 86 Wabash Court, just west of the Vigo County Courthouse). This box will distribute naloxone (also known as Narcan) for free to consumers, family members, or anyone from the public on a no questions asked basis.

Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration that is effective in preventing death by rapidly reversing the effects of an overdose from opioids, and doses distributed through the WIN Recovery NaloxBox will be administered via nasal spray.

The box was provided by Overdose Lifeline, a non-profit organization which has fought the opioid addiction problem since 2014. Designated HCI/WIN Recovery staff will monitor the box, track its usage, and order free replacement kits as needed from Overdose Lifeline’s Indianapolis office. State and federal funding has been utilized to cover the cost of the program, with support also coming from the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction.

“The NaloxBox mission is to improve the capacity of bystander rescuers to save the lives of victims of opioid overdose with overdose response tools, including naloxone,” Overdose Lifeline states on its website.

Natasha Newcomb, WIN Recovery’s deputy chief of addiction and substance abuse services, is pleased to add this naloxone distribution method to its many ways of assisting those in need.

“We know and understand that when somebody has addiction problems, they can’t always just quit,” Newcomb said. “They may want to quit, they may have tried, and they may have struggled – but sometimes they just can’t stop. Narcan is a way for them to help save their life or the life of somebody they love.”

Newcomb emphasized that the person getting the Narcan from the Naloxbox may not be the person experiencing addiction.

“It may be for their brother, their sister, their girlfriend, or their child,” she said. “It’s important to recognize that that while the box is there for people who are using substances, it is also there for people who have a loved one they are trying to save.”

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Vigo County had 179 patients admitted into emergency departments for treatment for overdoses, while 24 fatal cases were recorded.

Newcomb acknowledged someone using drugs might not to want to seek help from law enforcement or a hospital due to potential legal repercussions.

“Historically in our society, and even today, if somebody called the police because they were overdosing there’s a chance that after they were taken care of at the hospital they’d be taken to jail,” she said. “If somebody is overdosing, then they obviously have paraphernalia there, or they have substances on them because they’ve been using. People are hesitant to contact the police or go to the emergency room for the same reason. The Naloxbox removes that step.”

Newcomb noted that if someone is at a point where they think they’re going to overdose, they need to seek medical attention whether they have access to Narcan or not.

One particularly vulnerable segment of society who could benefit from the Naloxbox consists of people who have been released from incarceration.

“Individuals who return to the community after being incarcerated are 129 times more likely to suffer an overdose than the general population,” according to Overdose Lifeline. “The NaloxBox provides easy, stigma-free access to lifesaving medication – completely free of charge.”

Newcomb added that there is no limit to the number of dosages someone can receive from the Naloxbox, although hoarding is unlikely since the product has no street value. She said in some circumstances people may need to get multiple applications.

“You can’t abuse Narcan or get high from it,” she said. “People can take as many as they need. It may be that that one person takes four doses, but that person may live in a household with three other people who abuse opioids, and they may need one for each person in their household. Maybe they’re going to keep them handy because three of their friends have overdosed in the past week.”

“That’s the reality of what some of these people are seeing and living with.”

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Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, adults, and families, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Hamilton Center Implements Starting Salary Increases

Increasing salaries, enhancing benefits to attract and retain nurses and therapists

Like all businesses, Hamilton Center, Inc. is committed to recruiting and retaining top talent, and the organization is building on this commitment by increasing salaries and boosting benefits for nurses and therapists — including a $5,000 sign on bonus and two weeks of PTO on the first day of employment.

A 2020 survey by flexjobs.com indicated that salary was the top factor considered by its job applicants in deciding which offer to accept (67 percent of applicants). HCI will be making aggressive changes to its salary schedule for nurses and therapists to help satisfy this desire. Hamilton Center’s revised starting full-time salaries for nursing and therapist positions are:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse – $60,320
  • Registered Nurse – $72,800
  • Unlicensed Therapist – $55-63,000
  • LMHC-LMFT – $63-68,000
  • LCSW – $68-73,000

Melvin L. Burks, President and CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc., said the changes are necessary in order for the facility to continue to serve the 12 communities in which HCI has offices.

“If we cannot serve our consumers, then our consumers may lose hope,” he said. “It’s important that we get these positions filled. In addition to starting salary, we have an ‘a la carte’ menu of benefits from which candidates can draw.”

The “a la carte” benefits menu will allow candidates to choose the benefit options that are most appealing to them. Among the items on the list are:

  • Student loan reimbursement upon hire
  • Student tuition reimbursement upon hire
  • Overtime and on-call shifts available
  • Telehealth work from home options available
  • Monthly stipend in lieu of selecting HCI insurance coverage
  • Flexible schedules (potential of four 10-hour days or three 12-hour days per week)
  • Monthly stipends to assist childcare costs

The exact “a la carte” program specifics are not finalized, but applicants may be able to choose “three or four” additional benefits to add to their compensation.

“Hamilton Center is committed to reinventing the way we see employment,” Burks said. “Stop on by. Let’s find a way.”

To learn more about employment opportunities at Hamilton Center, visit https://www.hamiltoncenter.org/employment// or call 812-231-8532. The organization also holds open interviews every Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at its corporate office at 620 Eighth Avenue in Terre Haute, Ind.

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Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, adults, and families, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Hamilton Center Access Services Providing Valuable Service 24/7

While Hamilton Center’s (HCI) normal business hours are on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the needs of the communities it serves do not arise only during that time.  Hamilton Center’s Access Services works 24/7, 365 days a year to help bridge this gap and either provide help to those in need or steer them toward the correct location.

Amber Sebastian is a manager of Access Services at HCI and likes how her office has a huge role in getting people the help they need.

“When people present themselves to us, they let us know what their concern is,” she said. “Then we connect them with a nurse or a therapist who completes a crisis assessment. From that crisis assessment, we’ll contact the doctor that’s on call to see what the best treatment plan is for that patient.”

The Access Services center is located in Terre Haute but is not limited to just potential clients in that location.  Hamilton Center also has offices in Bloomfield, Clinton, Indianapolis, Plainfield, Spencer, Brazil, Greencastle, Linton, Rockville, Sullivan and West Terre Haute. Anyone in those locations needing help can also contact the Access Center at (800) 742-0787 or go to www.hamiltoncenter.org.

Sebastian related a story from a recent encounter with a man who was reaching out for assistance. 

“A man called in who was contemplating suicide,” she recalls. “And then once we talked to him and he understood that we were there to listen and assist, he was very thankful and felt much better.  He said usually he felt like nobody’s there for him.”

Sebastian noted that her department has a goal of getting help to someone in the community within 30 minutes of receiving a call.

“We were able to get him here for an assessment that really changed his entire day and his outlook on mental health facilities in general,” she said.

Sebastian recalled another recent situation involving a man contemplating suicide who was visiting from California.

“He ended up here but needed residential substance abuse treatment. We were able to connect with the most appropriate level of treatment. He received an assessment with them that same day and was admitted.” 

Sebastian noted the man has stayed around Terre Haute and still stops by the access center when he’s in the HCI building.

“Whenever he stops by our pharmacy to pick up his medicine, he stops in and basically just says, ‘thank you’,” Sebastian said. “He said, ‘You know, I feel like I was never being heard. I ended up in this random state where I knew no one and you guys were the only ones who helped me.’ That’s one that always sticks with me. He still sounds fine and just says, ‘Hey, I’m doing good.’ I love that.”

Sebastian noted that the two possible options for those seeking help are inpatient or outpatient treatment.

“If it’s inpatient, we go ahead and facilitate that to get them in our [IPU],” she said. “If it’s outpatient, we also get the follow up in place to ensure timely treatment. We don’t ever turn anyone away. Something that’s really big to someone else may be small to me and you.”

If people are unable to make it to any Hamilton Center office location to get their situations resolved, Access Services can send out its mobile crisis unit to provide the same assistance.

“Our goal is to intervene before it gets to the point of hospitalization,” Sebastian said. “If you feel like you’re suicidal in the community or depressed and you don’t have a ride to come into the Access Center, it’s an amazing alternative to dialing 911 and having law enforcement involved. I feel like it’s more therapeutic for our patients for us to be able to go out and intervene.”

Such a service also allows law enforcement to better focus on that intended topic instead of trying to diffuse issues of mental health.

 “If a 911 caller is voluntary, the police have been picking them up and just dropping them off here,” she said. “They’ll call us ahead of time and say, ‘Hey, so-and-so’s on the way’, so we’ve got a really good relationship with the police department.”

Jordon Miller had worked in the Inpatient Unit at Hamilton Center for nearly four years before moving into a management position in Access Services. 

Miller considers his new department as kind of the backbone of the entire HCI operation.

“I would describe it as a central hub for everything that goes on with Hamilton Center,” he said. “I like how vital and integral the Access Center is. My manager position is a bit different than my job on the IPU – it’s a lot more fast paced with a lot more department collaboration

Before the Access Center became a 24-hour operation, Miller handled many of the same kinds of crisis calls as a night shift mental health technician on the IPU.

“I was pretty well-versed in crisis intervention over the phone and facilitating referrals coming in from other hospitals and dealing with people who may be in a suicidal crisis or doing wellness checks,” Miller said. “We do a lot of really important work in there, and we have the right team put together. It just makes everything go really smoothly and kind of fall together.”

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Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, adults, and families, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Hamilton Center, Inc. Celebrates International Women’s Day

Employees get afternoon off to celebrate Women in their lives.

Hamilton Center Inc. employees, throughout the region, will participate in an International Women’s Day program from 8am to 10am March 8, 2022, with the theme of #BreakTheBias.  After the virtual program, they will enjoy the remainder of the day off to celebrate with women in their lives or celebrate Women’s Day in their own way.   

The event was created last year by the organization’s President/CEO, Melvin L. Burks, who felt the day should be recognized by all.  “Women have played a critical role in my life,” he stated.  “Particularly my mother and grandmother who laid the foundation for my life.” 

Hamilton Center’s program will include some short videos and presentations from three accomplished women, from three different generations, with unique perspectives and journeys as women.   

Christine Pace is a first-generation college student from Chicago, Illinois. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development & Family Studies from Indiana State University, and she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at ISU in Student Affairs and Higher Education. While attending Indiana State, she has been highly involved with many student organizations and held a variety of leadership roles. In addition, she has also worked with the ISU mentoring center, ISU counseling center, Residential Life, and, currently, The African American Cultural Center.  

LaSandra Edwards is a Civil Engineer with 20 years of engineering experience in wastewater collection, wastewater treatment, and water resources. She has provided civil design, GIS coordination, and drawing production for some of the more complex projects in the Sacramento, CA region. She was a first-generation college graduate in the fourth graduating class (2002) of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology that included women. She was 1 of 5 woman in the civil engineering graduating class.  

Dororthy Jerse  is a native of Des Plaines, Illinois, but has lived in her adopted city of Terre Haute for close to 60 years. At age 49, she graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with a Bachelor’s degree in American history and communication.  Dorothy was the former curator of the Vigo County Historical Society and executive director of the former Terre Haute YWCA.  The author or coauthor of seven local history publications and formerly a freelance writer for the Tribune-Star and Terre Haute Living magazine, she has conducted almost 2,000 interviews and claims “working people are my heroes.”  Dorothy is a mother of four accomplished children, six grandchildren and one great grandchild. 

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Hamilton Center Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in central and west central Indiana. The organization employs over 630 staff regionally and serves over 13,000 consumers annually. The full continuum of mental health and addiction services is provided birth through older adulthood.  The organization recently added primary care to its service array. Grace Clinic Health Professional is located in Vigo and Putnam counties and provides primary care services to children and adults. For additional information on Hamilton Center services call 800-742-0787.