Dr. Harris was a pediatrician in Laconia and was the founder of Lakes Region Mental Health Center in 1966. During the course of his medical practice, he recognized the need for children to receive not only primary care, but mental health care in one place. He was truly a visionary. Now, 52 years later, we still believe that integrated care is better care and provides better outcomes for our patients.
Each year, LRMHC presents this award to an individual who promotes increased awareness, sensitivity, understanding and acceptance of mental health issues in the Lakes Region through educating the public. This year, LRMHC recognized Erica Ungarelli, Director, Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health, NH DHHS with the Dr. Pete Harris Community Service Award.
Erica Ungarelli started working for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services in 1992, first at the Youth Detention Center, then full time as an Adult Protection Service Worker for the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services for 3 years. She became a Child Protective Services Worker for the Division for Children, Youth and Families in 1995 and then helped to supervise DCYF Central Intake Unit.
In 2002, she left Central Intake to work at DCYF State office; first as a Supervisor in the Fiscal Unit assisting in program/ service oversight and development, programmatic and practice support to the fiscal staff, then secondly as an administrator for the Bureau of Wellbeing overseeing programs such as, Foster Care Health, Grants and grant management, and the Parent Leadership program, and oversight of child/youth specific programming and support with other parts of the department such as Behavioral health and Developmental services, DCYF lead for Managed Care, project director of the System of Care grant and program development. She has worked closely with the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative serving on various committees.
In the Spring of 2016, Erica was named the first Director of the newly-created Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health within the Division for Behavioral Health. She is the co-lead for the development of a new 10 Year Plan for Mental Health and uses her position to advocate on behalf of the State’s children.