Mayor Scott Avedisian was recently honored by the Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in ceremonies at the State House.
Christine Harkins, executive director of Bridgemark, who nominated Avedisian for the recognition award, said the mayor has consistently led the way for access to behavioral health care for the deaf community.
She said Avedisian’s support to Bridgemark’s city and statewide services to the deaf through city grants and Community and Development Block grants afford deaf individuals communication access to 12 Step programs.
“The lives this access has saved during his tenure is incalculable. Warwick is the only city in Rhode Island that assures an American Sign Language interpreter is available for at least one weekly 12 Step meeting – and has done so on an ongoing basis for years! This meeting always has an interpreter present; there is no need for an ‘advance request,’ as individuals fighting for sobriety never know when an acute need for assistance [an emergency] may occur.”
She said Avedisian’s support of Bridgemark’s deaf services program has helped emergency room care, secondary health issues, child trauma experiences, domestic violence incidences, associated police involvement and homelessness while gaining national acclaim.