The Northland Coalition opened its virtual 2022 Prevention Conference on March 4 with an award ceremony recognizing outstanding members for their contributions to prevention and the coalition. The conference was sponsored by the Northland Coalition, Tri-County Mental Health Services and the Platte County Health Department.

Excelsior Springs Hospital – Outstanding Partner in Prevention
Laura Bruce, program development specialist of Tri-County Mental Health Services, presented the Excelsior Springs Hospital with this award.


Excelsior Springs Hospital has not only participated in partnership with prevention, but during the past five years, they’ve intentionally worked prevention into the hospital’s mission, priorities and areas of expertise. Kristen DeHart became the CEO of Excelsior Springs Hospital in 2017, and immediately became involved in Excelsior Springs SAFE, the local prevention coalition, leading committees, giving presentations, and promoting their messages throughout the hospital’s platforms. Her involvement increased the coalition’s strategies to address prescription drug misuse and tackle the higher rates of tobacco use among youth and adults in the community.

The Hospital prioritized these strategies and even hired an Addiction Specialist, Dr. Anthony Strickland, as their Chief Medical Officer in 2020. Dr. Strickland was a presenter at the event. Through Kristen’s advocacy efforts the hospital was included in the Missouri EPICC opiate response program.

The hospital has been foundational in the Thrive Excelsior initiative, which focuses on increasing quality of life and life expectancy in Excelsior Springs, and recently hired a Clinical and Community Health Coordinator, Tina Cook, to help ensure that community wellness is a sustained priority. By sharing a space and resources freely with Excelsior Springs SAFE, the hospital makes collaboration and coordination efficient and hospitable.

Last year, the hospital became the fiscal agent for the Excelsior Springs SAFE Drug Free Communities grant, taking the coalition, their Program Director, and their programs under their wings.
Excelsior Springs Hospital has been vocal about its support of prevention and uses its platform to promote prevention strategies.

“This is what partnership can look like and we are so incredibly thankful for Kristen’s leadership, her amazing staff, and the hospital’s commitment to prevention,” said Laura Bruce, program development specialist of Tri-County Mental Health Services.

“Under Kristen DeHart’s leadership seeds of prevention are being planted, cultivated and are growing into great fruit. We are so incredibly thankful for the amazing collaboration that we have with the leadership, staff and programs of Excelsior Springs Hospital.”

Lawson Cardinals In Action (CIA) – Champions For Change
This award was presented by Sherri Miller, prevention youth team supervisor at Tri-County Mental Health. Since its inception in 1993, Lawson CIA has been a powerhouse in youth prevention efforts.

Efforts include prevention advocacy at the state and local levels. Most recently, they advocated to have Tobacco 21 passed within their community. While most T21 policies were passed through city councils in Lawson, Mo. the policy was passed via ballot measure. This was the first municipality in the state to do this. Without their passion and perseverance, this policy would not have been passed.

These “Champions For Change” have made it their mission to enhance the culture within their school. Twice a year they host a peer-to-peer campaign; one on substance use, one on mental wellness. During the past fall semester, the group hosted a “Smart and Safe Over Christmas Break” campaign. Their goal was to get students to pledge to stay sober over Christmas break. They received 67 signatures on their pledge and provided fun activities and trivia for their peers during lunch on the last day before break.

The past two years, during the spring semester, they have hosted a mental wellness day for their peers. This day includes stations in which students can unwind, learn healthy coping skills and destress from daily life. Stations include pet therapy, recreational time, movies and sensory activities. CIA students have reported their peers greatly benefit from this day and even look forward to it.

“The passion and dedication of the Lawson CIA students to prevention is unmatched in the Northland! They are so deserving of this award and should be proud of the work and accomplishments they have achieved,” said Sherri Miller, prevention youth team supervisor at Tri-County Mental Health.

Heidi Mick – Exceptional Community Contributor Award
Youth Suicide Prevention Specialist at Tri-County Mental Health, Taylor Cline was thrilled to present this year’s Exceptional Community Contributor award to Heidi Mick.

Mick has dedicated her life to education and continues to be an active supporter of prevention efforts in the Northland. She has made many valuable contributions to prevention and shows a willingness to volunteer in any way she can to support youth. As a teacher, she found that she wanted to do more to be able to support the mental health needs of her students. Heidi saw a need for compassionate adults to step up to the plate. With grandchildren of her own, she continues to be passionate about supporting prevention efforts that address the mental health needs of students.

Heidi has been a member of the Platte County Prevention Coalition since 2012 and chaired the coalition for a few years before retiring from Platte County R-III School District. She has been an active volunteer, and currently the chair, for the Platte County Back to School Fair. Heidi has been a volunteer in a variety of substance use prevention efforts. She sponsored the Students Against Drunk Driving (S.A.D.D.) group at Platte County R-III High School who implemented multiple substance use prevention campaigns throughout each school year and helped with annual Arrive Alive events.

Heidi continues to be an active member of the Northland Coalition. Heidi remains a dedicated catalyst for community change, and she embodies what it means to be an Exceptional Community Contributor.
“I had the pleasure of having Heidi as a high school teacher, and she continues to inspire me to this day with her passion for supporting the youth in our community,” said Taylor Cline, Youth Suicide Prevention Specialist at Tri-County Mental Health.

Dr. Shayla Sullivant – Distinguished Friend of Prevention Award
Community Prevention Specialist Diane Pickert, presented this award, beginning with the statement, “Distinguished is a word that necessitates success, authority and great respect.

Dr. Shayla Sullivant’s Prepped and Ready Program is a successful program that has educated a vast number of parents on topics like vaping, safe storage of pills and firearms, and much more.” Dr. Sullivant educates parents on ways to keep their children safe and mentally healthy. Her power- packed and professional messages accelerate prevention to a higher level.

Dr. Sullivant’s mission, to get these important messages out to parents, took on many forms. She made professional videos that brought the experts from Children’s Mercy to parents right in their own homes. Area coalitions were able to easily disseminate those important messages to parents across Clay, Platte and Ray counties.

“Dr. Sullivant has compassion for families, loves her work, and has a commitment to see children grow up healthy and safe. Her persistence in getting those messages out in an innovative way, never giving up even in the face of the pandemic, makes her a Distinguished Friend of Prevention,” said Diane Pickert, Community Prevention Specialist.

John McGovern – Inducted into the 2022 Northland Coalition’s Prevention Volunteer Hall of Fame
Vicky Ward, Manager of Prevention and Wellness at Tri-County Mental Health, presented this much deserved award to John McGovern. The Prevention Hall of Fame honor recognizes prevention volunteers who have given extensive hours and years to support prevention efforts. John McGovern has done just that.

John started in the prevention network as the Police Chief in Excelsior Springs. He was a founding member of the Excelsior Springs S.A.F.E. (Substance Abuse Free Environments) prevention coalition and the three-county Northland Coalition. He has served on the executive committee of SAFE since its conception in 1993 and currently serves as treasurer.

John was pivotal in helping the coalition pass local ordinances such as MIP of tobacco and alcohol, Keg Registration and Social Host. These ordinances were passed prior to becoming state law and served as a catalyst for passage into state law.

Always leading from the front, John served as “chief cook” at the many Community Drug-free Tailgate Parties, held in our earlier prevention years, actively assisted with local parent information programs and rarely missed the Overtime programs, designed to provide a safe and drug-free environment for high school students following home sporting events. He assisted Tri-County with their youth prevention education programs and consistently served on the “expert panel.” These game-show replicas reached youth across the Northland.

John also found the time to assist with prevention programs at the local, regional and state level and has attended numerous local, state and national prevention conferences.

John is committed to the community he serves. Even while serving as the police chief, John was involved in several civic groups, attended chamber meetings, and served as a school board member. When asked to do something that would benefit his community his response is almost always “how can I help?” John is 100 percent supportive of SAFE and prevention.

“We always know we can depend on John to be a champion for prevention,” said Vicky Ward.