(Chicago) – Clinical and forensic psychologist Melissa Caldwell, PhD, MA, CCHP-MH, CCHP-A, , is the recipient of the second annual Edward A. Harrison Award of Excellence in Correctional Health Care Leadership, presented to an individual who leads by example, inspires others, and is committed to quality improvement in correctional health care. It is named for longtime NCCHC president Edward A. Harrison.
Dr. Caldwell is president of Franklin, Tenn.-based Freedom Behavioral Health, part of the Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc., business family, a woman-owned company that provides medical and mental health services to correctional facilities in 19 states. In this role, she develops behavioral health programs, supervises a staff of more than 160 mental health and substance abuse professionals, and provides development, training, and mental health consulting to custody and health staff.
“I am very grateful for this most prestigious honor, and also grateful for the many brilliant minds and people of integrity who have nurtured me throughout my career,” Dr. Caldwell said after receiving the award at the National Conference on Correctional Health Care in Las Vegas. “The work we do is important; the world we live in needs people dedicated to the care of incarcerated individuals. Our actions have the capacity to help our patients find a path to wellness and good citizenship.”
Dr. Caldwell’s recent work focuses on professional wellness and fitness for duty, including development of the Critical Incident Employee Rapid Response program for correctional staff during times of extreme stress. This year alone, more than 800 professionals have participated.
With the National Institute of Mental Health, she developed validated, corrections-specific suicide prevention and screening tools. She is a frequent speaker on mental health, substance abuse, suicide prevention, and professional wellness around the country.
In 2021 Dr. Caldwell was awarded Advanced Correctional Healthcare’s PIC (Professionalism-Integrity-Commitment) award, a “core values award” voted on by the entire Advanced Correctional Healthcare team. She holds doctorate and master’s degrees in clinical and community psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2003 and 2001, respectively) and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (1998). She is a Certified Correctional Health Professional (CCHP) through NCCHC and also holds specialty certification as a CCHP-Mental Health and advanced certification as a CCHP-Advanced.
About the National Commission on Correctional Health Care
The mission of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is to improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities. NCCHC establishes standards for health services in correctional facilities, operates a voluntary accreditation program for institutions that meet those standards, produces, and disseminates resource publications, conducts educational conferences, and offers a certification program for correctional health professionals. NCCHC is supported by the major national organizations representing the fields of health, mental health, law, and corrections. Each of those organizations has named a liaison to the NCCHC board of representatives to create a robust, multidisciplinary governing structure that reflects the complexities of correctional health care.
NCCHC Supporting Organizations
Academy of Correctional Health Professionals, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of PAs, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Bar Association, American College of Correctional Physicians, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Healthcare Executives, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Correctional Health Services Association, American Counseling Association, American Dental Association, American Health Information Management Association, American Jail Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Pharmacists Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Public Health Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, National Association of Counties, National Association of Social Workers, National Medical Association, National Sheriffs' Association, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine