American Addiction Centers (AAC) recently awarded its 2017 Behavioral Health Academic Scholarship to three students working toward a career in the behavioral health field. The first-place winner, Sharlene Leong, MA will receive $5,000 in financial assistance. The second-place winner, Munib Raad, LCSW and third-place winner, Louis Carney will each receive $2,500 to go toward completing their education.
“Over the last three years, we’ve awarded $30,000 in scholarships to deserving students who have demonstrated their commitment to serve those struggling with substance abuse and/or mental health issues,” said Michael Cartwright, AAC chairman and chief executive officer. “We considered it a privilege to continue to offer this scholarship every year and to support those students who have chosen to pursue careers in the behavioral health field.”
SHARLENE LEONG, MA is a graduate student working on her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Howard University. In her program, she’s doing research with older African-American individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and age-related dementia. Working in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area, she recognizes that cultural attitudes and availability of resources can be a barrier for community-based mental health and addiction treatment.
MUNIB RAAD, LCSW will be pursuing a doctoral degree in social work at New York University. As a licensed clinical social worker, he currently works at Callen–Lorde Community Health Center, one of the nation’s premier LGBTQ community healthcare centers. Mr. Raad runs the graduate student training program in which students gain specialized LGBTQ healthcare training and clinical experience working within this population, which has a high rate of substance abuse.
LOUIS CARNEY is completing his associate degree in nursing at St. Clair County Community College. He currently works as a firefighter paramedic in Howell, MI and was inspired to enter the behavioral health field by working with addicted individuals in hospital emergency rooms. His eventual goal is to be a nurse practitioner and help those struggling with addiction and mental health disorders.
American Addiction Centers launched its scholarship program in 2015 in response to the growing need for trained mental health and substance abuse experts and as a way to provide financial assistance to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in the field.