Italian Home for Children’s Yota Gikas Receives Association for Behavioral Healthcare Award

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Yota Gikas, the Assistant Vice President of Community Based Programs for Italian Home for Children, recently received the Association for Behavioral Healthcare's (ABH) award for Excellence in Leadership and Empowerment Award.

ABH is statewide organization representing over 80 community-based behavioral healthcare provider organizations, recognized its 2020 award recipients at its annual Salute to Excellence event on October 16th, hosted virtually this year. Each year, ABH recognizes individuals and groups that have made impressive contributions to the field of mental health and addiction treatment

"On behalf of ABH, we want to thank all award recipients for the important work that they do every day, and particularly for their dedication to providing vital behavioral health services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," said Lydia Conley, President and CEO of ABH. “Your perseverance, creativity, and dedication have shown more than ever this year and we salute you for your unwavering commitment to individuals and families living with mental health and substance use disorders across the Commonwealth. ”

Gikas oversees the Italian Home’s outpatient mental health clinic, school-based contracts, in-home Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program, as well as three CBHI programs. Gikas’ efforts to recruit an extremely diverse staff – ethnicity, race, LGBTQ - with linguistic capacity for ten languages is allowing IHC to open access to many more clients in the next couple of months and is reaching those that are marginalized by language barriers. Her leadership and the balance she strikes between administrative responsibility and clinical knowledge has served her clients and staff members very well, and has prepared the Italian Home for Children to manage the nuances of the COVID-19 pandemic seamlessly and calmly.

The Excellence in Leadership and Empowerment Award is given to an individual who exemplifies outstanding leadership qualities and shows a personal commitment to advocacy and empowerment.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ABH’s Salute to Excellence went virtual this year, and awardees were recognized at an online ceremony attended by members, providers, and lawmakers including Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Speaker of the Massachusetts House Robert DeLeo, Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka, and more.

As an organization with three decades of experience in not only the advancement, but also the preservation and promotion of community-based mental health and addiction services, ABH is recognized as the leading statewide association in this field. ABH members are the primary providers of community-based behavioral healthcare in Massachusetts. Member providers and their more than 46,500 dedicated employees provide clinically effective and cost-sensitive care to 1.5 million residents in communities throughout the state annually.