Thava Mahadevan receives an inaugural Ann & Gerry Akland Person of Passion Award at Wake County NAMI

Thava Mahadevan, MS, LCAS
Thava Mahadevan, MS, LCAS

Thava Mahadevan, MS, LCAS, director of operations at the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, received an inaugural Ann & Gerry Akland Person of Passion Award at NAMI Wake County’s 33rd Celebration of Courage Award at the PNC Arena, April 26, 2019.

In a nomination letter, he received accolades for his work in community mental health. “He lives his life as a champion for people living with severe and persistent mental illness, and he has made a difference in the lives of people across the nation as well as here in Wake County. His ‘out of the box’ thinking and enthusiasm combined with his own life experience and education have led to grant funding, major donations, pilot programs and research that will help establish evidence- based programs that provide more than clinical care.“

The Ann & Gerry Akland Person of Passion Award recognizes and honors the contributions of leaders in the community who are working towards erasing stigma and advocating for the rights of those living with a mental illness. Nominees must be a person of passion, must perform their acts with love and compassion with the goal of improving the lives of the clients they serve. Mahadevan is one of two recipients named in this inaugural award.

Additionally,  Mahadevan is the director of the Center’s innovative recovery programs at the UNC Farm at Penny Lane, which houses the Center’s Horticulture Therapy program, UNC PAWS, and various wellness programs.


Michael Williams will serve as chair of the Center’s Advisory Board

Michael Williams
Michael Williams

Michael Williams, executive director, Executive Service Corps of the Triangle, will serve as the Center’s chair. He joined the Board in 2015.  His 30-year career with GlaxoSmithKline culminated in a position as area vice president for medical groups.


Additionally, he was the vice president of sales for hospitals and long-term care accounts at Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, and he was the president and managing partner at Facio Consulting Group and Associates, which focused on business and sales consulting for small, midsize and large biopharmaceutical clients. Williams is a graduate of Xavier University.


Center honors donors at an appreciation lunch

At an augural donor appreciation lunch at the Doubletree by Hilton, RTP, May 29, Ed Binanay, the Center’s director of development, welcomed and thanked nearly 40 donors and advisory board members for their continued support of the Center.

Following lunch, Michael Williams, chair of the Center’s advisory board, welcomed guests and introduced board members. John Gilmore, MD, the Center’s director, vice chair of research and scientific affairs and Eure professor, thanked everyone for their support. Gilmore and Thava Mahadevan, MS, gave updates on the Center and its recovery programs.

If you would like to donate to the Center, please use  

For additional information, contact Ed Binanay, director of development, at

Photo L-R  Diana and Charles Meyer, Michael Williams


Center will host  its Sixth Annual No Limits Gala November 7

Save the date November 7. The Center is making plans for its Sixth Annual No Limits Gala, which will include both silent and live auctions, music and dinner at he George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Registration information will be available soon at