NJPRA Recognizes SHP Dean, Faculty, and Alumni

Rutgers School of Health Professions was well-represented in this year’s NJ Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s (NJPRA) recognition awards, with five people associated with the school receiving awards.

They are Dean Gwendolyn Mahon, recipient of the 2020 Administrator Award; faculty member Lue Ann Librera, recipient of the 2020 Educator Award; alumni Karen Burke, a 2004 SHP graduate, and Lynn Blecher-Vicari, a 2007 SHP graduate, recipients of the Supervisor Awards for their work at the non-profit Collaborative Support Programs of NJ (CSPNJ); and alumni and current student, Michael Shultz, who received the 2020 Alan Lunt Consumer Advocate Award.

Dean Mahon

Dean Gwendolyn Mahon Dr. Mahon was recognized for visionary leadership and overall support of the school’s psychiatric rehabilitation department. She was noted for supporting creation of a career ladder program with undergraduate through doctoral degrees, and for making research by students a key component of educational programs. She consistently supports students, staff and faculty, and especially did so during the pandemic.

“I am highly honored to receive this award,” she said. “The faculty were extremely generous with their time and expertise in providing support for our school and community as we were in the middle of the crisis in NJ. I am so proud of our psychiatric rehabilitation and counseling faculty for all that they have done and pleased to support them as the school’s dean.”

Lue Ann Libera

Lue Ann Libera An educator within the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions associate degree program for 17 years, faculty member Librera has instructed hundreds of students both in the classroom and online on the foundational concepts of psychiatric rehabilitation. Her students cite her warmth and optimism as reasons why they have succeeded in the program.

“Lue Ann’s light shines brightest as a fixture within the program, empowering students at the earliest stages of both their post-secondary journey and their careers,” said her nomination.

Michael Shultz

Michael Shultz Shultz is a peer health navigator at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care Center. He received the 2020 Alan Lunt Consumer Advocate Award, which is given  to a person in recovery who shows outstanding advocacy efforts for people in recovery.

He earned his A.S. in Psychosocial Rehab, B.S. Psychiatric Rehab & Psychology at SHP, and is now student M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling. He works in the Intensive Recovery Treatment Support program at UBHC, helping fellow peers gain employment. “Michael meets individuals where they are at in their current recovery process and works with them. In addition, Michael is authentic, grounded and a wonderful role model for the peers he works with,” said his nomination.

Karen Burke

Karen Burke While alumna Burke has excelled in several areas in her tenure at CSPNJ, this was especially evident during the pandemic. She took the initiative to ensure that hospital patients are still able to receive psychiatric rehabilitation care.

Through meetings, emails, and phone calls to the upper levels of the hospital staff, Burke made sure that their voices were heard and needs met in the scramble and change that occurred because of COVID. Her nomination also noted that as a supervisor, “Karen takes great care of her team. Those who work with her feel supported.”

Lynn Blecher-Vicari

Lynn Blecher-Vicari Alumna Blecher-Vicari works at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in Transition Mission and at Reach Out Speak Out, a recovery center in the Trenton area. Accelerating full integration of people in recovery into their communities is an area in which she excels, according to those who nominated her.

She is a strong proponent of facilitating outings where individuals soon to be discharged can leave the hospital grounds and visit wellness centers to socialize, receive support for physical and emotional health, and connect with resources to fully integrate into the community. She takes members of the center to the shore and helps supervise their stay for several days. “Lynn is one of the kindest, hardest working, and compassionate professionals you will ever meet,” said her nomination.

Rutgers SHP is proud of of these accomplishments.