West Central Behavioral Health extends three awards annually to people who embody the spirit of our mission and vision in many exemplary ways. We take great pride in honoring those who go “above and beyond” to share their time and talents with West Central and our clients. Our awardees help clients and colleagues, communities, family, friends, and neighbors to become healthier and more aware of the importance of evidence-based practices in the field of community mental health, the need to work together to eliminate the stigma of mental illness in our society, and the opportunity to grow and recognize mental illness and substance use disorders as treatable. The annual awards include:

The Lilla McLane-Bradley Award for Mental Health Advocacy

Established in 2007, this Award honors a community member who embodies the volunteerism and service for which Lilla McLane-Bradley – a West Central founder – is remembered.

Lilla was a force of nature whose indomitable spirit and persistence had a profound influence on West Central’s founding. Dr. Jesse Turner, West Central’s first CEO, spoke with admiration about Lilla upon learning of her passing. “Lilla was a natural leader and consensus builder,” he said. “She had the confidence of community leaders from both Sullivan and Grafton counties, and was elected Chair of the newly established organization. I don’t believe I have met anyone with more energy and drive.”

John Hennessey, former CEO of DHMC, and member of West Central’s first board of directors recounted, “Fundamental to the building of West Central was the vision and zeal of Lilla.”

Lilla has been described by others as a person whose enthusiasm was contagious, and as someone with a wellspring of optimism that inspired everyone around her. It is in Lilla McLane-Bradley’s memory with a spirited optimism for the future of behavioral health that we extend this Award annually.

Award Recipients


  • 2023 Peter Mason, M.D.
  • 2022 Chris Christopoulos, Jr.
  • 2021 Michael Whitman
  • 2020 The Honorable John T. Broderick, Jr.
  • 2018 Ron Michaud
  • 2017 US Rep Ann McLane Kuster
  • 2016 Barbara & Dick Couch
  • 2015 Sen. Bob Odell
  • 2014 Pete & Ruth Bleyler
  • 2013 Ross Cunningham
  • 2012 Laurie Harding
  • 2011 Paul G. Gorman, EdD
  • 2010 Carl Bannon
  • 2009 Mimi MacNamee
  • 2008 Harriet Baldwin
  • 2007 Donna Stamper


The Fred Hesch Award for Excellence in Performance

Established in 2020, this Award is given annually to a West Central Behavioral Health employee (clinical or administrative staff) with eight or more years of tenure who best embraces Fred’s commitment to serving West Central’s mission as a community mental health care provider through:

Excellence in Performance: The employee has demonstrated specific and exemplary contributions to the services that are provided to or otherwise supports West Central’s clients and the community. S/he has demonstrated creativity and initiative to improve the service experience or organizational effectiveness.

Mission-focused Accomplishments: The employee has demonstrated commitment to the mission-focus of her/his role within the agency. S/he is highly respected and has demonstrated exceptional collaboration with both internal staff and external stakeholders. S/he embodies a culture of compassion, stigma reduction and recovery-orientation.

Personal Accomplishments: The employee is flexible, adaptable and embraces the changes in the healthcare environment and is committed to personal growth and development, modeling perseverance in the face of challenges that may arise.

Agency and Team Commitment: The employee demonstrates a high regard and dedication for the agency, other staff members, and embraces a team-driven model of collaborative, transparent and honest interactions with others.

About Fred Hesch

Fred was an employee at West Central Behavioral Health for 43 years until his retirement in 2017.  He was an original member of the Sullivan County Mental Health Clinic that became West Central Behavioral Health in 1977.  During his tenure, Fred served in many roles.  His most notable role was serving as the agency’s Director of Emergency Services until his retirement.  In this role, Fred demonstrated exceptional compassion for his clients and the challenges in their lives, as well as a dedicated support for his staff.  He has been described by many as demonstrating a calm, engaging manner with clients in distress that was the envy of even the most seasoned clinician.  Fred is known to have been a font of clinical knowledge and experience with whom staff would frequently engage in thought-provoking discussions.

Award Recipients

  • 2023 Gillian Bemis
  • 2022 Sandra Giambruno
  • 2021 Shawn Cornell
  • 2020 Fred Hesch

The Matthew S. T. Winer Award for Humanism and Excellence in Community Psychiatry

The Matthew S.T. Winer Award is given to the resident in psychiatry who best exemplifies the qualities of empathy, humanism, and clinical excellence in the practice of community psychiatry.

West Central Behavioral Health and the Dartmouth Medical School Department of Psychiatry join in presenting this award, created by West Central Board member and Interim Chair of the DHMC Department of Psychiatry, William C Torrey, M.D, to honor the professional life of Dr. Matthew S.T. Winer, cut short by cancer in 2005.

West Central’s current Medical Director, Diane Roston, M.D. recounts, “Dr. Winer earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. At Dartmouth, he trained in adult and geriatric psychiatry. Dr. Winer then joined West Central Behavioral Health and worked at the Counseling Center of Lebanon for six years before entering private practice. He served throughout as an active member of the adjunct faculty, passing on his wisdom and experience to numerous trainees."

Dr. Winer was an avid reader of clinical literature. He was also an accomplished pianist, a skilled mountain climber and skier, and a naturalist.

Dr. Winer had an extraordinary capacity to create therapeutic relationships based on respect, understanding, and caring. He used his considerable gifts to relieve suffering and promote hope. Dr. Winer is remembered for his compassion and ability to remain directly and warmly present with his patients.

Award Recipients

  • 2023 Ben Shapiro, M.D.
  • 2022 John P. Corbett, M.D.
  • 2021 Eric Bland, M.D.
  • 2020 Matthew Squires, M.D.
  • 2019 Samuel I Kohrman, M.D.
  • 2018 Stephen P Bettwieser, M.D.
  • 2017 Aubri Magnifico, M.D.
  • 2016 Hera Ashfaq, D.O.
  • 2015 Larry D Mitnaul, M.D.
  • 2014 Frances S Shin M.D.,
  • 2013 Vijay A. Phalgoo, M.D
  • 2012 Manish K. Mishra, M.D.
  • 2011 Benjamin D. Wood, D.O.
  • 2010 Daniel R. Bateman, M.D.
  • 2009 AbbyL. Reineck, M.D.
  • 2008 Jennifer L. McLaren, M.D.
  • 2007 Alicia M. Groft, M.D.
  • 2006 Erica O’Neal, M.D.
  • 2005 Jennifer Palmara, M.D.


Please click on any of the above to learn more about each award and the award recipients.