Dr. Amy Van Hecke, associate professor of psychology in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, recently received the Mental Health America of Wisconsin Community Partner Award.
Mental Health America of Wisconsin (MHA) is an affiliate of the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to helping Americans achieve wellness and improving mental health through advocacy, education and service. The Community Partner Award recognizes outstanding service and commitment to improving the mental health of communities through innovative and effective means.
Van Hecke was presented the award last Wednesday, Dec. 4, at MHA’s annual meeting and community awards luncheon held at the Italian Community Center. The event focused on advocating for health and healing in the Milwaukee community. Van Hecke was one of four individuals to receive the Community Partner Award.
“I am so thankful to be recognized for this important work,” she said. “I am incredibly grateful to my Next Step Clinic team and to Milwaukee’s families and children, for bearing with me on this journey, of learning that listening to our community, and acting accordingly, should be our first priority. I still have a lot to learn, but I am eager to use what I have learned and my skills to help Milwaukee’s children and families overcome barriers and have the most opportunities for care available to them.”
Next Step Clinic is housed inside the Next Door Foundation, 2545 N. 29th St., and operates as a satellite of MHA of Wisconsin. It is meant to address the mental health and developmental needs of Milwaukee’s under served children and families.
Van Hecke led the charge to establish the clinic in 2018 after President Michael R. Lovell announced the launch of the President’s Challenge.
Lovell, with support from the Johnson Controls Foundation, committed to awarding a $250,000, two-year grant to one interdisciplinary, collaborative proposal seeking to change the trajectory of lives in the greater Marquette community.
Next Step Clinic was declared the winner of the inaugural challenge in January 2019.
“The psychology department is proud to congratulate Dr. Van Hecke on winning a 2019 Community Leader Award from the Wisconsin chapter of Mental Health America,” said Dr. Stephen Saunders, chair and professor of psychology. “She demonstrates a strong passion for expanding mental health services in the Milwaukee community. Her commitment to reaching and serving socioeconomically disadvantaged communities is inspiring.”