Patti Hart, MA, LISAC

Patti HartRSA II – Restart Program, Arizona

I was born in beautiful Loveland, Colorado, where I lived up until moving to Arizona at the beginning of High School.  Still love places with four seasons, but I only miss the snow during December.  I’m the middle sister, and third of four children.  I completed my B.S. in Elementary and Special Education at Northern Arizona University, studying Elementary and Special Education.  At NAU, I met the love of my life, Neil Hart.  After graduation and a Flagstaff wedding, we relocated to San Jose, California, where we lived for the next six years, and where both of our children were born.

While in the Bay Area, I joined up with the Stevens Creek Striders running club, and trained for two marathons.  Those were incredible experiences and we made some lifelong friends.  We started our family, and I returned to school and studied Marriage and Family Therapy at John F. Kennedy University.   In 2002, with a toddler and an infant, we returned to Arizona to be closer to my family again, and buy a house that didn’t cost a million bucks.  We settled in the West Valley, where we remain today, even though we’ve lived in four different homes since then.

I worked for an area children’s behavioral health agency from 2003 to 2005, as a School Based Counselor and Coordinator. From there I joined another local agency, providing counseling and education groups with adults and teens in substance use diversion programs, and facilitating the Women in Recovery Program at Perryville State Prison Complex.  After transitioning to work directly for the Department of Corrections in the Re-entry program for women (under Parents Commission grant), I moved on to the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, working with adjudicated youth at Eagle Point School.  I worked on a unit for adolescents with Substance Use Disorders, and later led the staff in the crisis unit. I learned more from that experience than from any of my coursework in adolescent development or addictions. As a result of the massive budget crisis in 2009, ADJC, along with several other agencies, endured Reductions in Force, which ended my time at ADJC.

From there, I offered donation based counseling at a local church for a few years, and signed on as an Adjunct Faculty with Ottawa University. I love teaching, and staying connected and engaged with new findings in human development and counseling. When it came time to get back to full time work, I joined Aetna Medicaid’s Learning and Performance team, and provided behavioral health training to new employees, mostly nurse case managers and social workers. During that time, Mercy Maricopa was awarded the RBHA contract for Maricopa County, and I assisted with the training of new staff hired to support the Integrated Care plan.  At the time, MMIC was the largest RBHA of its kind in the country, taking on the monumental task of joining physical health care management with behavioral health care for adults with Serious Mental Illness under Medicaid.  There I learned a great deal more about what Arizona has accomplished in Behavioral Health and Recovery, and also about the changes implemented by the Affordable Care Act, that aim to protect the integrity and quality of the work we all do to serve the most vulnerable.

Joining RI in 2015 offered me a chance to get back to the groundwork in Arizona’s Behavioral Health system, and continue supporting integration efforts.  We have much work to do, but in Transitional Living and Planning (the Restart program at RI), we get the privilege of helping our participants access the care and resources offered them to continue their recovery and rebuild stable lives.  The Restart teams offer temporary, supported apartments, living skills lessons, and a safe recovery environment in which adults having Serious Mental Illness can rediscover their strength, hope and resiliency, and begin taking daily steps working and planning toward a healthier future. Our workforce proudly integrates certified Peers with experienced and certified clinicians, and team leads who offer consistent care and inspiration in the daily work they do.  I’m delighted to be here, and proud of the changes we all get to witness happening when we believe in each other and assume the best.