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Deputy Secretary Brown to receive Bert Nash Center's Pioneer Award

Deputy Secretary Andy Brown

Andy Brown’s association with the Bert Nash Center goes back decades to when he was an employee.


And that connection has continued up to his current position as Deputy Secretary for Programs at the Kansas Department for Aging & Disability Services, where he played a key role in the startup and licensing of the Treatment & Recovery Center (TRC) of Douglas County. The TRC opened in April 2023.


For his involvement in the groundbreaking TRC project, Andy is the recipient of the Bert Nash Center’s Pioneer Award. The award will be presented at the annual Pioneer Celebration on April 29 at Venue 1235.


Andy was excited to learn he had been chosen to receive the Pioneer Award.


“There are a lot of people who have won this award in the past, and several I have seen get the award, that I have a lot of respect and esteem for,” he said. “It’s a good list to be part of.”


In his nomination letter, Bert Nash Center Governing Board member Gene Dorsey, said, “Andy and staff supported Bert Nash and the entire county in getting the TRC up and running. The state’s funding and Andy’s practical advice were instrumental in this historic event.”


The TRC is the first facility of its kind in the state.

“The TRC was a huge undertaking,” Andy said “When we started that project it was like a visioning exercise. We talked about what we wanted to do. I got to be part of that initially. Then I became involved again on the state side and how we were going to partner with the County to make that work.”


Andy said the TRC project is an example of how the Bert Nash Center has been a leader in developing innovative ways to deliver mental health services.


“Bert Nash is often at the forefront of the things we’re trying to do nationwide and statewide. Working on the TRC project was a first, working on developing a 24/7 mobile crisis program was a first, the new competency restoration treatment program was a first, and the Youth Recovery Center will be a first. These are things we’ve been working on at the state level and it’s been fun to see Bert Nash and the community implement those things.”


Andy also cited Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic or CCBHC legislation in Kansas as a major milestone in the state and for the Bert Nash Center.


“Kansas broke new ground when we passed our legislation. We became the first state to create state certification for CCBHCs without any demonstration or grant funds from the federal government,” Andy said. “CCBHC is the biggest mental health reform in Kansas since the original CMHC (Community Mental Health Center) movement in the ’60s. It’s been a real honor to work on shaping what that looks like in Kansas, and Bert Nash was the first to do it.”


Before going to work for the state six years ago, Andy had spent his career in the nonprofit world, including working at the Bert Nash Center in an administrative support role for the WRAP in-school therapy program.


“I really enjoyed my time with the WRAP program,” he said.


Other nonprofit positions Andy had in his career were with the Ballard Center, Douglas County Senior Services now the Douglas County Resource Center, Lawrence Community Shelter, and Headquarters now HeadQuarters Kansas.


Andy grew up in Topeka and moved to Lawrence after high school. He and his wife, Larissa, have five children. Andy traces his motivation for doing the work he does to his parents.


“That’s the way I was raised. My parents were very involved in their community. They volunteered for a lot of groups. So as a teenager I grew up volunteering for nonprofits,” Andy said. “I’ve always been service driven and enjoyed giving back. Nonprofits were a good way for me to do that. Working for the state is a different kind of service but it is still very much a public service. I enjoy spending my day trying to make life better for Kansans.”












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