Kathy Bashor, Bureau Chief of the AHCCCS Office of Individual and Family Affairs (OIFA), recently announced her retirement. Since joining AHCCCS in 2016 when the Division of Behavioral Health Services moved to AHCCCS from the Arizona Department of Health Services, Kathy has made a lasting impact on members and employees alike.
“Kathy has been a tireless advocate to ensure that the voice of AHCCCS members and families are front and center in all our decisions,” said Director Tom Betlach. “I have personally benefited from the patience, determination, and knowledge that she has shared with me over the years. Kathy has been instrumental in our efforts to improve services for AHCCCS members and she will be missed.”
As an advocate and leader in the field of Peer and Family Support, she was instrumental in advancing a peer credentialing program that has now generated more certified peer support specialists per 100,000 residents than any other state in the nation. Numerous awards and accolades demonstrate the depth of her commitment. In 2018, she received the Max Dine Advocacy Award from David’s Hope for outstanding leadership in mental health criminal justice. She also received the 2017 ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy Leadership in Advocacy award for her sustained contributions to the accessibility, availability and effectiveness of behavioral health services in Arizona.
“Kathy has been a tireless advocate to ensure that the voice of AHCCCS members and families are front and center in all our decisions.”
Dana Hearn, assistant director of the Division of Health Care Advocacy and Advancement, has worked with Kathy for almost eight years. “Kathy has such a presence about her that those around her are immediately filled with zest and a force of your own just by being around her. And to be in her presence is to adore her. Good days and bad, Kathy brings the utmost sincerity and passion for all that she does. She is an advocate through and through and one of the best humans I have ever known,” Hearn said.
As Kathy generously shared her story of lived experience and her expertise, AHCCCS employees benefited. Through a partnership with PSA Art Awakenings, Kathy organized an art display at the Phoenix campus as a way to start dialog with colleagues about the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Every year, she has encouraged employees to join “The Soul of AHCCCS” walk team in support of NAMI, the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. Along with OIFA staff, she generously volunteered time to formal and informal staff training. Everyone who had the pleasure of working alongside Kathy came away with greater understanding of mental illness, the stigma that surrounds it, access to treatment options and tools to support our communities.
AHCCCS is deeply grateful to Kathy for her service to members, families and our extended community.