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The College for Behavioral Health Leadership will honor Sheilah P. Clay, president and CEO of Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), with the King Davis Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity and Reducing Disparities. She will be presenting and honored at the organization’s annual summit Oct. 17-18 in Denver.

Established in 2008, the King Davis Award recognizes leaders who have made significant contributions in promoting diversity or reducing disparities through their work in the areas of behavioral health services, research, advocacy or policy. These individuals have made a direct impact on the quality of care or access to care for marginalized populations at the local, state or national level.

“I cannot express in words my surprise and how humbled I feel about being honored with the King Davis Award,” said Clay. “King Davis was the primary person who introduced me to social determinants of health. He is a leader in this field whom I greatly admire.”

NSO is a Detroit-based $23 million nonprofit human service organization seeking to improve lives and communities in southeast Michigan. The organization provides support and mental health treatment services for older adults, homeless adults, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as integrated health services. NSO also provides psychiatric crisis intervention and stabilization, youth leadership, violence prevention, workforce development, supportive housing development and training services to individuals and families. Clay spearheaded the creation of the NSO Bell Building, which opened in 2012 and is the largest permanent supportive housing development in Michigan and home to 155 formerly homeless adults.

Based in New Mexico, the College for Behavioral Health Leadership has decades of expertise in enhancing leadership in the mental health and substance use prevention and treatment fields. The organization offers a distinctive focus on fostering leadership and has been recognized for its ability to scan the ecosystem, convene leaders and incubate new ideas to bring about change for the future. The College seeks to be recognized as the premier forum for the development of leaders and the exchange of innovations that impact the health and wellness of communities and people with mental health and substance use conditions.

“It is a privilege for us to honor Sheilah for her work and her vision. She exemplifies all the best a leader can offer – passion, strength, courage and effort wrapped into a humble and joyful personality that encourages others,” said the College for Behavioral Health Leadership Executive Director Kris Ericson, PhD. “She has made a difference in the lives of multitudes of people in places where others wouldn’t go. As with the greater Detroit community, the College is delighted to have her voice and energy a part of our work to lead into the future.”

Clay is a member of various boards, including Partners 4 Health, Michigan League for Public Policy, Opportunity Resource Fund, Judith D. Jackson Scholarship Fund and Leadership Women. She also has been the recipient of numerous honors, including the Detroit Free Press’ Shining Light Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award, the Mariam C. Noland Award for Nonprofit Leadership, Michigan Chronicle’s Women of Excellence and Who’s Who in Black Detroit.

A resident of Farmington Hills,  Clay is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Wayne State University in Detroit, Leadership Detroit and Leadership America.

Since 1955, Neighborhood Service Organization has been supporting the Detroit community and surrounding area by strengthening and empowering neighborhoods, supporting families and helping people in need. Over the years, the scope and variety of services offered have grown into a network of sophisticated, vertically integrated programs that have received local, statewide and national recognition. For more information on NSO, visit www.nso-mi.org.


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