Programs | Projects

Nominations for the 23rd Annual
Outstanding Service Awards will open in August


Check out our 2018 award recipients!

Lisa Holien, MEd, MS
Lisa Holien has been a champion for the students and families of Lakeville Area Schools for more than 20 years, paving the way for the implementation of district-wide systems to support the social-emotional wellbeing of students and staff. Early in her tenure, with no financial resources or roadmap, she led a committee of staff and community members committed to improving school-based mental health services. In 2009, the efforts of the committee paid off with her appointment as the first Student Support Specialist at Lakeville North High School. She established herself as the go-to person for students experiencing challenges, from family discord to chemical addiction and mental illness. The momentum from this victory led to the addition of more positions, and today, all secondary schools have a full-time support specialist. Lisa was also instrumental in creating the South of the River Mental Health Summit—now in its eighth year—helped establish the first chemical and mental health coalition in her community, and secured a grant to implement multi-tiered support services across the district. Lisa’s passion and perseverance have been the catalyst for system-wide change in Lakeville, and the impact of her work has been felt by both students and staff.

Gary Johnson, PhD
A reflection of his passion for helping young people reach their full potential, Dr. Gary Johnson founded the Clinic for Attention, Learning and Memory (CALM) as a space to support those with complex attention and learning disorders. He has been a relentless advocate for careful, comprehensive & strength-based assessment for children. As clinic director for 30 years, he has performed more than 4,500 evaluations and provided many more children and parents with tools to successfully navigate their diagnosis. Beyond quality evaluations and treatment, Dr. Johnson also provides supervision and training to doctoral students and clinicians with a keen focus on improving how the field of mental health approaches its work. Dr. Johnson has partnered with Native American communities to help families improve their understanding of cognitive impairment and advocate for fair assessment and treatment within both clinical and academic settings. He also authors an ADHD Update that he disseminates free of charge to local pediatricians, psychologists and others in the field, and delivers countless presentations throughout the community to educate families and advocate for improved services. He has been an enthusiastic presenter at MACMH conferences for twenty years. Whether at the clinic or out in the community, Dr. Johnson’s knowledge continues to inform clinical practice around neurodiversity, while strengthening approaches to diagnosis and intervention.

Catherine Wright, PsyD, LP LPCC
As Early Childhood Mental Health System Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Dr. Catherine Wright has received national attention for her innovation and far-reaching impact. Since 2009, Dr. Wright has worked tirelessly to establish a statewide network of licensed infant and early childhood mental health professionals through partnerships with multiple agencies. Her work has led to the development of the Great Start Process, which trains clinicians in assessment and diagnosis for young children, as well as the Child Care Consultation Initiative, which aims to improve quality consultation to child care providers, while reducing implicit bias and expulsion in early childhood systems. Because of Dr. Wright’s leadership, Minnesota was chosen by the Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) developers to be one of two states to launch the CPP within-agency training model—an honor that has further highlighted Minnesota as a leader in early childhood mental health. Dr. Wright was also invited to participate in Zero to Three’s 2016 fellowship program, where she shared her expertise and learned with others from across the world. Dr. Wright’s professional accomplishments, combined with her commitment to the needs of families, will continue to make a lasting contribution here in Minnesota and beyond.

Each year MACMH recognizes individuals who have had a significant, positive influence in the lives of children with mental health needs.

The Outstanding Service Award is open to educators, mental health professionals, social workers, physicians, juvenile justice professionals, administrators, community advocates, parents, caregivers and other public servants who have shown extraordinary achievement and/or leadership in the field of children’s mental health. The award recipients are celebrated at MACMH’s annual gala.

The Outstanding Service Award recognizes individuals who have met most of the following criteria:

  • Engaged in efforts that raise awareness about infant, child or adolescent mental health
  • Developed or implemented creative, successful prevention or early intervention programs for infants, children or adolescents
  • Advocated on behalf of infants, children or adolescents with mental health needs
  • Demonstrating dedication to helping children or adolescents with mental health disorders succeed academically and socially
  • Change/influenced a system or policy related to infant, child or adolescent mental health
  • Developed and/or implemented innovative, successful methods of collaborating with those involved in the life of an infant, child or adolescent with a mental health disorder
  • Educated, trained and mentored peers regarding infant, child or adolescent mental health
  • Contributed to the body of knowledge surrounding infant, child or adolescent mental health

For more information contact Deborah at

Past Award Recipients