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Three New Advocates Elected to NAMI Board,
Three Incumbents Also Chosen

Contact:
Mary Rappaport 703-312-7886
Bob Carolla (703) 516-7963
For Immediate Release
13 Jul 99

Arlington, VA---Delegates to the national convention of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) in Chicago on June 30-July 4, 1999 elected three new members to the organization's board of directors, as well as three incumbents, for three-year terms.

"We are both thrilled and honored to welcome six exceptional advocates for persons with severe mental illnesses to NAMI's board," said NAMI President Jackie Shannon of San Antonio, Texas. "Having celebrated NAMI's 20th anniversary in Chicago, we now face major challenges for the future. NAMI's members and leadership will benefit greatly from the collective experience and perspectives that each of the board members elected this year bring to the cause. They will help to lead NAMI into the 21st Century."

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots organization dedicated to research, education, advocacy and support of persons with mental illnesses. With more than 208,000 members and 1200 affiliates nationwide, NAMI's board consists of a total of sixteen directors.

Newly elected directors are:

  • Moe Armstrong of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Director of Consumer & Family Affairs for the Vinfen Corporation. Living with schizophrenia for over 32 years, Armstrong recently was featured in a profile by Ted Koppel on ABC's Nightline and in chapters of Jay Neugeboren's new book, Transforming Madness: New Lives for People Living With Mental Illness.
  • Mike Freedman of Albany, New York, Director of the New York State Peer Bridger Project of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services and 2nd Vice-President of NAMI's Consumer Council.
  • Margaret "Peggy" LeGrande of New York City, an advocate for mentally ill inmates and parolees whose son has struggled with schizophrenia for 18 years, starting in college. LeGrande has served as treasurer for NAMI Harlem and chair of the Forensic Committee of NAMI New York State. She is a community relation's specialist at the New York Organ Donor Network and an associate faculty member at the Columbia University School of Nursing.

Incumbent directors elected include:

  • Gerald R. Tarutis of Seattle, Washington, a partner in the law firm Tarutis & Baron, Inc., P.S., whose practice focuses on problems that revolve around persons with severe mental illness and their families, including difficulties with Social Security, Medicaid, insurance, estate-planning and guardianships. He has worked with NAMI at the local, state, and national levels for more than 15 years and currently serves as 2nd Vice-President and chair of the board's Dispute Resolution subcommittee.
  • Darlene Prettyman of Bakersfield, California, a registered nurse whose son has schizophrenia, is the immediate past president of NAMI California. She has worked for 20 years trying to change the mental health system, with a special focus on housing issues. She served both as executive director and chairman of the board of Living Connections, Inc., which built two separate apartment complexes and purchased two board-and-care homes. She is a member of the California Mental Health Planning Council and other state task forces, as well as the national task force on seclusion and restraints of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
  • Margaret Stout of Johnston, Iowa, has served as NAMI Iowa's executive director for 12 years and chair of NAMI's Executive Directors Council since 1996. She also has been a member of the board of trustees of Broadlawn Medical Center in Des Moines for over 20 years. She currently serves on the National Mental Health Plan Advisory and the National Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) oversight committee. Stout's mother-in-law suffered from schizophrenia until her death at 87; her brother-in-law suffers from schizoaffective disorder. With three young grandchildren, she is especially alert to the hereditary nature of mental illness and the need for scientific research.


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