NAMI National Awards | NAMI

Each year at the NAMI National Convention, we honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding work in furthering the goals of our movement. Included below are our awards winners.

The Rona and Ken Purdy Award to End Discrimination recognizes the sustained contributions of an individual or organization to raise public awareness, reduce stigma and advance our mission to build better lives for people with mental illness and their families.

2021 D. Brian Hufford, J.D.
2020 Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
2020 Linda Brady, Ph.D.
2019 Taraji P. Henson
2018 Sue Abderholden
2017 Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority
2016 Shannon Jaccard
2015 NAMI New York City Metro
2014 Wil Wheaton
2013 The Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL)
2012 Ron Barber
2011 Doris Buffet
2010 Glenn Close
2009 Nathaniel Ayers
2008 Jane Pauley
2007 Jonathan Charles Alder
2006 The Honorable Richard Cody
2005 Jamie Blyth
2004 Jean Singleton Liechty
2003 Laura Lawless
2002 Sally Moorman
2001 Carrie Fisher
2000 Ken Steele


The Lionel Aldridge Champions Award recognizes an individual living with mental illness who demonstrates courage, leadership and service in their work to promote recovery and ensure that all people living with mental illness live full lives in their communities. NAMI’s highest peer award is given in the spirit of our organization’s ongoing commitment and devotion to supporting a movement and community that is inclusive of people living with mental illness, their family members and friends.

2021 Nadine Lewis
2020 Bill Carruthers
2019 Mauro Ranallo
2018 John Freeburg
2017 Thomas Wilkins
2016 Johnny Limbaugh
2015 Terry Taggart
2014 Jason DeShaw
2013 Peggy Swarbrick, Ph. D.
2012 Bonnie Kelly
2011 Mark Vonnegut, M.D.
2010 Quentin Schroeter
2009 Bruce Van Dusen
2008 Jean Campbell, Ph.D.
2007 Kitty Dukakis
2006 Anne Pearce (Patty Duke)
2005 Jim McNulty
2004 William MacPhee
2003 Hikmah Gardiner
2002 Bryce Miller
2001 Maurice Benard
2000 Fred Levine


The Richard and Betsy Greer Advocacy Award honors NAMI advocates whose leadership and vision has advanced policy and advocacy efforts that impact individuals living with mental illness and their families.

2021 Ken Norton
2020 Peggy Huppert
2019 Matthew Shapiro
2018 Greg Hansch
2017 Timothy Clement
2016 May Farr
2015 Jim Ogle
2014 Senator Creigh Deeds
2013 Eva Eastwood
2012 Peggy Straw and Gordon Bopp
2011 Joel (Buddy) Wier, III
2010 Jim and Diane Hall
2009 Rev. Craig Rennebohm
2008 Jane Novak
2007 Naomi Verdugo
2006 Joe and Joann Zwack
2005 Julie Tait and Family
2004 Carol Carothers
2003 Gary and Sandra Mihelish


The Sam Cochran Criminal Justice Award recognizes exemplary individuals whose work in the criminal justice system has improved the fair and humane treatment of people with mental illness.

2021 Judge Dan Eisenstein
2020 Pat Strode
2019 Judge William J. Boyce
2018 Judge Peter J. Garcia
2017 Mark Gale
2016 Rick Raemisch
2015 Jackie Lacey
2014 Sheriff Thomas Dart
2013 Senior Corporal Herb Cotner
2012 Sheriff Sue Rahr
2011 Chief William McManus
2010 Chief David Kunkle
2009 Judge Stephen Manley
2008 Lt. Deanne Adams
2007 Vernon M. Keenan
2006 Judge Steven Leifman
2005 Officer Frank Webb (Houston PD)
2004 Sergeant Carol Oleksak (Albuquerque PD)


The Young Leader Award recognizes young adults who exemplify exceptional leadership among their peers to foster a culture of recovery and resiliency that helps people living with mental illness live full lives in their communities.

2021 Annie Vitti
2020 Patrick Dowling
2019 Diana Chao
2018 Eleni Gogos
2017 Rachel Ritchie
2016 Amanda Lipp
2015 Alexis Hill
2014 Amanda Swindle
2013 Stacy Hollingsworth


The Multicultural Outreach Award honors effective efforts to ensure that diversity and inclusion are high priorities within NAMI.

2021 NAMI Contra Costa County
2020 Shanti Das
2019 Lorenzo Lewis
2018 AJ Mendez
2017 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Tennessee Chapters
2016 Elaine Peng
2015 NAMI Wisconsin
2014 NAMI Ohio
2013 Brenda Wesley
2012 Gareth Fenley
2011 NAMI San Antonio
2010 Martha Silva
2009 Jackie Lukitsch
2008 Luisa Perez
2007 NAMI San Diego
2006 NAMI Tennessee
2005 NAMI Southern Arizona
2004 Lupe Morin
2003 NAMI Dallas
2002 NAMI New Jersey
2001 NAMI of Greater Kansas City


The Outstanding NAMI Affiliate Award is bestowed upon a NAMI Affiliate that demonstrates exceptional leadership, strong community presence, outreach to diverse communities and exemplary stewardship of the NAMI mission.

2021 NAMI Bucks County and NAMI St. Tammany
2020 NAMI Greenville
2019 NAMI Fox Valley
2018 NAMI Juneau
2017 NAMI Greater Houston
2016 NAMI Rochester
2015 NAMI Western Nevada
2014 NAMI Greater Cleveland
2013 NAMI Austin
2012 NAMI Beaufort Country S.C.
2011 NAMI San Diego
2010 NAMI San Antonio
2009 NAMI Central Ozarks
2008 NAMI New York City Metro and NAMI Mid-Carolina
2007 NAMI of DuPage County (IL)
2006 NAMI Southwest Louisiana
2005 NAMI Pinellas County (FL)
2004 NAMI Metro Baltimore
2003 NAMI Collier County (FL)
2002 NAMI Fort Wayne (IN)
2001 NAMI Mercer (NJ)
2000 NAMI Memphis


The Outstanding NAMI State Organization Award recognizes exceptional efforts on the state level in carrying out the NAMI mission as defined by the NAMI Standards of Excellence.

2021 NAMI Georgia
2020 NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania
2019 NAMI Washington
2018 NAMI Texas
2016 NAMI Alabama
2015 NAMI Massachusetts
2014 NAMI Virginia
2013 NAMI Wisconsin
2012 NAMI California and NAMI North Carolina
2011 NAMI Connecticut
2010 NAMI New Hampshire
2009 NAMI Minnesota
2008 NAMI Illinois
2007 NAMI Utah
2006 NAMI Louisiana
2005 NAMI Kansas
2004 NAMI South Carolina
2003 NAMI Missouri
2002 NAMI Idaho
2001 NAMI Florida
2000 NAMI North Carolina


The Gloria Huntley Award is presented by the NAMI Restraints and Seclusion Committee for exemplary work in elimination restraint and seclusion.

2020 Terry Kupers, M.D.
2019 Ron Honberg
2016 Bill Lichtenstein


The Ken Steele Award recognizes outstanding contributions by an individual living with mental illness to improve quality of life, increase empowerment and promote integration and inclusion for other peers.

2020 Lucy Wilmer
2019 Christi Collins
2018 Leah Thedford
2017 Christine Thompson
2016 Alicia Smith


The Distinguished Service Award is given in recognition of exceptional efforts to further NAMI’s goal of improving the lives of people living with mental illness.  *This award is discontinued as of 2020

2019 Robert K. Heinssen, Ph.D.
2018 Mary Elizabeth “Tipper” Gore
2017 Chirlane McCray
2016 Eric T. Schneiderman
2015 Sen. Darrell Steinberg
2014 V.P Joe & Dr. Jill Biden
2013 Gary Mihelish, D.M.D.
2012 Gen. Peter Chiarelli ( Ret.)
2011 Joyce Burland, Ph.D.
2010 Rep. Patrick Kennedy
2009 Stella March
2008 Judge Steven Leifman
2007 Henry J. Steadman, Ph.D.
2006 Gunnar & Susan Christiansen
2005 Rosalynn Carter
2004 Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton
2003 Sen. Paul Wellstone (posthumously)
2002 Michael Hogan, Ph.D.
2001 Laurie Flynn
2000 David Satcher, MD, Ph.D.


The Outstanding NAMI Member Award is the highest honor given by NAMI to a member in recognition of long and effective work toward accomplishing NAMI’s goals.  *This award is discontinued as of 2020

2019 NAMI Members in Pennsylvania
2018 Jessica Gruneich
2017 Pastor Lesley E. Jones
2016 Toni Hoy
2015 Diane Kratt
2014 Judy and Donald Turnbaugh
2013 Doug and Ruth McKnight
2012 Kathy Brandt
2011 Rev. Hal Taylor
2010 Jacqueline Shannon
2009 Roscoe Swann
2008 Jim & Carol Howe
2007 Evelyn Miller and Don Looney
2006 Janet Susin
2005 William Harwood
2004 Marcia Mathes
2003 Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.
2002 Fred Frese, Ph.D.
2001 Ray Sinor
2000 Eleanor Owen

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).