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Mental Health News Radio: An Interview with Jill Queen of Cardinal Innovations and NC Tide

Jill Queen is the Regional Quality Manager for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions and President of North Carolina Training, Instruction, Development and Education (NC TIDE), one of North Carolina’s premier training organizations for the behavioral healthcare industry.


 Tell us a little bit about yourself including your involvement with mental health? 

I am a North Carolina native.  I have worked in the human services field of mental health, substance abuse, intellectual and developmental disabilities for about 20 years.  Quality, quality care, equality in care and normalization for those receiving care are my passions.  I believe everyone deserves to live as normally as possible and to receive the best care to help them achieve recovery, stability and a meaningful, quality life.   Currently, I work for a managed care organization in NC that provides management of publicly funded services for individuals that depend on the public system for behavioral health, substance use and intellectual/developmental disabilities services.  I love my job as I feel I make a difference in the quality of services individuals receive; because, at the end of the day, this is what working in human services is about, quality of care, quality of life and, creating solutions for successful outcomes.   As a result, I try to make a difference and be a leader wherever I can including being involved in the community and sharing my knowledge with others.  I believe the more people you can engage in your mission and vision, the more positive impact you can have on the lives of those around you.  I try to live by the premise of Ralph Waldo Emerson:  “to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

What is your overall career goal?   

To ensure all individuals in the behavioral health system receive high-quality, cost-effective care that focuses on respect, dignity, creative solutions, outcomes and quality of life through collaboration and accountability.  Everyone deserves access to the best care.  Everyone is entitled to live the best life possible regardless of their challenges or diagnosis. People are people and it is about abilities and seeing the positive in people so they can live a great life. 

nctideWhat is NC TIDE? 

Download their Summer Newsletter: NCTIDESummer2014

NC TIDE is North Carolina Training, Instruction, Development and Education.  It is a non-profit training organization for the behavioral healthcare industry. NC TIDE’s purpose and mission is Excellence in Training and Promoting Professionalism.”  The premise of the organization is to use the concept of the behavioral health community training each other and learning together to promote quality and professionalism.  As a result, we partner with the Division of Medical Assistance and Division of Mental Health in North Carolina as well as the University of Chapel Hill School of Government to provide the most up to date and pertinent training to the behavioral health community.  NC TIDE sponsors two training conferences each year, one in the Spring in Wilmington, NC and one in the Fall in Asheville, NC.  The next conference is November 2-5, 2014 in Asheville, NC at The Crown Plaza and Resort! 

What types of organizations are involved with NC TIDE?   

Arrays of organizations are involved with NC TIDE.  These include:  Managed Care Organizations, Service Providers of behavioral health services, substance use and those providing services to individuals with intellectual and developmental challenges.  Community stakeholders including consumers, families, and advocates are also involved.  The areas represented from the organizations include:  Finance, Claims/Reimbursement, executives/Directors/CEO’s of agencies, government employees, Information Management and Technology, Medical Records, Confidentiality, Quality, Clinical practices, practice management  and regulatory compliance,  customer service,  consumer affairs/advocacy, community collaboration and outreach.  As you can see, our membership is diverse and NC TIDE offers topics to address all areas associated with working in mental health, substance use and intellectual/developmental disabilities.   

How can someone join NC TIDE? 

Anyone interested in joining NC TIDE can visit our website at  The website has a link for membership information which includes a membership application.  They can complete the application and send it to NC TIDE or they can also send a message to NC TIDE by selecting the “contact us icon” on our website.  Membership  is open to any individual working in the fields of behavioral health services, substance use and those providing services to individuals with intellectual and developmental challenges as well as to affiliated human service organizations.  Membership is also open to family members and consumers. 

What are the advantages to coming to an NC TIDE conference? 

The conferences provide training to individuals working directly in the field, your boots on the ground personnel.  As a result, the training received by those working directly in the field gives real-time knowledge that goes into effect immediately.  NC TIDE conferences are a good resource and strategy for staff development programs as a method of continuous and effective training.  The conference offers 2 ½ days of training at a low cost; therefore, it is a prime example of a cost effective employee training program.  Furthermore, research on staff retention shows that continuous training improves quality of services and staff retention.  So, NC TIDE is also a method or strategy for employee retention. 

How can someone find out about the next NC TIDE Conference? 

The next conference is November 2-5, 2014 in Asheville, NC at The Crown Plaza and Resort!  You can find out detail about the conference and how to make reservations by visiting our website at:  The conference information is posted on our home page.    

Tell us about your involvement with animal assisted therapy? 

Animal assisted therapy is one of my passions.  Not just because I love animals but because I have seen first-hand the positive and therapeutic effects animals have on people.  I became interested in what I call “pet therapy” when I worked at an intermediate care facility for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities.  I had read many interesting articles about it and I had a co-worker that was also interested in “pet therapy.”  So, we decided to start our own “pet therapy” program at the center.  We began a grass roots effort to raise money to obtain a therapy dog and began searching for a dog that would fit in our environment.  We contacted a local trainer that was involved with training and working with therapy dogs.  And, from there, we obtained our “therapy dog”, a black standard poodle named Mikey. From that point on, I was in love with animal assisted therapy.  Mikey lived with me and went to work with me every day at the intermediate care facility.  We would visit the various units and work with the individuals.  Sometimes, our day consisted of just hanging out with the individuals as they did their goals or received physical or occupational therapy and other times, we comforted those in pain, worked on goals with the individuals to build motor skills. Individuals would become calm when having a behavioral outburst, stop crying when upset, laugh and smile instead of being sad and would work harder on their physical and occupational therapy just because Mikey was there with them.   It was an amazing experience to see individuals who could not speak or spoke very little to begin “talking” to the dog.  Sometimes, it was just vocalizations and others learned to say Mikey’s name.  I remember the first time one of the younger individuals that had very little vocabulary, said Mikey’s name.   It brought me to tears and was a very emotional moment. I loved the way the individual’s eyes lit up when Mikey came into the room.  Mikey even had an impact on staff.  They seemed happier at work and the atmosphere was less stressful.  This was what made me fall in love with animal assisted therapy.  Individuals would become calm when having a behavioral outburst, stop crying when upset, laugh and smile instead of being sad and would work harder on their physical and occupational therapy just because Mikey was there with them.  It truly was an awesome experience and lesson on how animals, especially dogs effect human nature and emotions.  Until this point, I had only read about it but then, I lived it and experienced what all the articles and research had talked about and it changed my life. 

How have you remained involved with animal assisted therapy? 

After my work with Mikey, I decided to rescue and train several other dogs so I could take the therapy dogs to visit individuals in senior centers and nursing homes.  It was my community service work and a form of therapy for me too.  I have trained and worked with a total of four therapy dogs:   Mikey, Marilyn, Penelope and Philepe.  All of my therapy dogs have now passed over the rainbow bridge, I miss my therapy dogs, they were rare treasures that brought so much joy to my life and the lives of others.  Now, I am therapy dogless but I still have two standard poodles that I rescued that are my personal pets.  Both had too much abuse and trauma to do therapy dog work but they are my form of stress relief and therapy.  I must have my daily dose of “pet therapy” including a long walk at the end of stressful day with my two loving, furry friends. 

Animal Assisted Therapy, counseling, education, Jill Queen, mental health, mental illness, Psychiatry, therapy dogs, training

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