Margaret Stout first came to NAMI as a volunteer state executive director hired to establish an office in Iowa. It was a very natural fit for Margaret because several of her extended family members have mental illness. With four young grandchildren, she is especially alert to the hereditary nature of mental illness and the need for scientific research.
Currently, Margaret is Vice-Chair of the National Mental Health Plan Advisory Council, a member of the National Technical Assistance Advisory Board, and is Chair of the Magellan Consumer Advisory Board. In 1996-1997 Margaret was on the Mental Health Advisory Panel for Eli Lilly. She is also Past Chair of the NAMI Executive Directors Council. In 1999 at NAMI's National Convention, Margaret was elected to the Board of Directors. During the 2001 NAMI Convention in Washington, D.C., Margaret was elected to serve as First Vice President of the Board.
In the State of Iowa Margaret has served on the Advisory Council on Educational Services to Persons with Disabilities (CEO), Public Policy Advisory Board for the Center for Family Research on Rural Mental Health, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Sub-Committee of the Iowa Health Care Reform Council, and Merit Behavioral Health Consumer/Family Roundtable. She is Past chair of State Mental Plan Advisory Council, Past Vice-chair of the Coalition for Disabilities, and has served on numerous other mental health committees.
Stout was elected five times in Polk County to the Board of Directors of Broadlawns Medical Center where she volunteered for twenty-one years. She is a past member of the League of Women Voters of Metro Des Moines and the Iowa Society of Association Executives. She has been an active leader in mental health and health care issues for over thirty years and regularly volunteers to assist families and persons with mental illness who have returned to Polk County, sometimes with no place to live and no future treatment or support guaranteed.
Stout's work was recognized by her local community with a "1994 Woman of Achievement Award" by the Des Moines YWCA. Stout received the Iowa Psychiatric Society "1997 Preston Distinguished Service Award" for longstanding devotion to the welfare of Iowa's mentally ill. She received KCCI-TV's "Leading the Way" award in 2000 for outstanding effort and making a difference in our community-for caring, creating hope and inspiring others. In 2001, Stout received the "Public Citizen of the Year" award from the National Association of Social Workers, Iowa Chapter, for empowering people, spreading hope-making a difference in the lives of many. She has received numerous other awards in past years.
To Margaret, NAMI is "her other family." It is a part of her extended families' lives. Over the years Margaret has come to see the important role each of us plays in changing the way America thinks and talks about mental illness. She truly believes that her personal investment in NAMI has made a difference in her family's life.
"It would be wonderful if a person with serious mental illness could have a short illness, seek treatment, and then return to work much the same as with any other illness. I believe this day will arrive for more and more persons in the years ahead."