Meeting of August 20, 2016

Members Present:                                                                            Also Present:

Bettina Brownstein                                                                                 John Jones

Patricia Highley                                                                                       Ruth Czirr

Tina Light (Vice Chair)                                                                           Tom Masseau

Dorcas Johnson                                                                                       Debra Poulin

Lisa Moss

Montavius McKinney (by phone)

Veronica Myers (Chair)

Eddie Smith

Elaine Williams

TaVonda Williams (Secretary)

Approval of Minutes

Chair Veronica Myers called the meeting to order at 10:00 am.

Elaine Williams moved the proposed minutes for the PAC meeting of June 4, 2016 be approved.  Bettina Brownstein seconded and the motion passed.

Discussion:  Candidates for PAIMI AC membership

 Eddie Smith had introduced Lisa Moss at the previous meeting, saying at that time that he came to know Ms. Moss through his work with the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS) and was impressed with her qualifications, abilities, and potential.  Ms. Moss had completed a membership application, which was reviewed by the Council.  Then Ms. Brownstein moved that Ms. Moss be approved for PAIMI Advisory Council membership.  Eddie Smith seconded and the motion passed.

John Jones introduced Montavius McKinney, who participated by telephone.  Mr. Jones said that Mr. McKinney is the State President of Youth Move Arkansas, a statewide youth-led peer support and advocacy organization.  Council members interviewed Mr. McKinney and then TaVonda Williams moved that he be approved for PAIMI Advisory Council membership.  Patricia Highley seconded and the motion passed.

Mr. Jones said that he would schedule an orientation for the five new Advisory Council members to occur before the next Council meeting.

Staff/Services Report

 Tom Masseau, Disability Rights Arkansas (DRA) Executive Director, presented a quarterly PAIMI financial report.

Debra Poulin, DRA Legal Director, provided an overview of PAIMI advocacy in several areas:

  • Poulin said that her presentation on Psychiatric Advance Directives at the Arkansas Mental Health Institute was well attended. People from several Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC’s) were there.  She continued that, while there is evident interest in this topic, there does not appear to be any significant use of these types of Advance Directives going on in the state now.  Dorcas Johnson said that she attended the workshop and felt that Ms. Poulin did an excellent job.
  • Some positive changes have been noted at the Booneville Human Development Center (BHDC)—for example, the number of monthly restraint incidents was over 60 in June 2014 and had dropped to 15 in June of this year. However, there continue to be major issues of concern there—such as the fact that the number of monthly restraint incidents there is still three times higher than in any other HDC in the state.
  • Case selection criteria for PAIMI Special Education cases will prioritize “School to Prison Pipeline” issues.


  • DRA will be filling an attorney/advocate position for employment issues


  • There is a new interim Director for the DHS Division of Youth Services.


FY 2017 Planning

 Mr. Masseau presented the DRA Draft Priorities and Objectives for Fiscal Year 2017.  He said that the number of Priorities were reduced to four:  Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation; Access; Employment; Education.  Specific targets under each Priority are listed as Goals.

There was some discussion about the Education priority, as this is an area of particular interest for some Council members:  Lisa Moss summarized the results of a 7/29 Council-brainstorming session, which highlighted the importance of getting good data on the prevalence of the problem and the ways to increase assessment of students for mental health-related problems/issues.

Mr. Smith introduced a visitor whom he had met through his work with veterans’ support groups.  This person had recently been incarcerated in the Pulaski County Jail and reported on extreme neglect being experienced by prisoners with mental health treatment needs there.

As the discussion on all issues concluded, Ms. Brownstein moved that the proposed 2017 Priorities for PAIMI work be approved.  Ms. Johnson seconded and the motion passed.

 Other Business

Mr. Masseau said that PAIMI is planning a weeklong tour of several Arkansas colleges and universities by Oryx Cohen, accompanying his movie, Healing Voices, which recounts the experiences of individuals seeking alternatives to the traditional medical/biochemical paradigm for “mental illness” and psychiatric treatment.  This is planned for the first week in October.

Mr. Jones introduced Ruth Czirr, who will be the primary trainer for the PAIMI Leadership Retreat, September 9 – 11 and the Arkansas 4H Center.

Next Meeting

 The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, November 12, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:37 pm.