~Award recognizes those who work on behalf of Floridians living with behavioral health challenges~


Viera, FL – October 14, 2019 – Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Florida Medical Director and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Manal Durgin, M.D., was recently named the “2019 Youth Behavioral Healthcare Professional of the Year” by the Florida Behavioral Health Association.

Each year, the association honors distinguished professionals across the state who have made significant contributions in the field of behavioral healthcare. Durgin received the award during the association’s annual statewide conference with more than 1,400 behavioral healthcare professionals in attendance.

“For more than 20 years, Dr. Durgin has provided extraordinary care for the children and adolescents we serve,” said Devereux Florida Executive Director Michelle Llorens. “She is loved and respected by our individuals, staff, parents and caregivers alike. Her calm and nurturing disposition shines through in everything she does, especially when interacting with our youth. We are thrilled Dr. Durgin is being recognized in this way, and we are so proud of her many accomplishments.”

Durgin has expressed her appreciation for the award and notes, “It is humbling to work for an organization that is so dedicated to serving and supporting individuals in need. My favorite part of my job is working directly with youth and their families. They challenge me, make me smile and teach me important life lessons on a daily basis. I also am grateful for my extraordinary and talented co-workers who are like my second family. I am honored to work alongside them.”

Making a positive impact
Phyllis Musumeci, a Brevard County resident whose son, Christian, received services through Devereux Florida, credits Durgin with helping her son thrive.

“My son struggled with expressive language and behavioral aggression for many years,” Musumeci shared. “Through Dr. Durgin’s direction, Christian learned how to use functional communication to voice his wants and needs, which then resulted in a decrease in his aggressive and self-injurious behaviors. Dr. Durgin is one in a million, and we greatly appreciate all she did for Christian and our family, and what she continues to do for others.”

About Manal Durgin

Durgin joined Devereux Florida in 1998 as a chief psychiatrist for the Devereux Viera Campus before transitioning to the position of statewide medical director in 2015. In her current role, she oversees the overall treatment planning and services provided throughout Devereux Florida’s continuum of care, including a child and adolescent psychiatric hospital in Brevard County, residential treatment centers in

Brevard and Orange County, group homes in Brevard and Orange County, foster care throughout the state, outpatient counseling and prevention programs statewide. Board certified in general Psychiatry and a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Durgin specializes in treating youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities, along with mental health challenges.

Melanie Brown-Woofter, president of the Florida Behavioral Health Association, applauded Durgin for her decades of exemplary service; “The Florida Behavioral Healthcare Association (FBHA) is committed to promoting the advancement of behavioral healthcare services in our state and transforming the way our society views mental health. Each year, the FBHA honors distinguished professionals who have made significant contributions to this collective effort. Dr. Durgin’s exceptional contributions to improving the lives of many individuals living with mental health conditions, along with her dedicated advocacy for enhanced support for families, make her very deserving of this honor.”

About Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations providing services, insight and leadership in the evolving field of behavioral healthcare. Founded in 1912 by special education pioneer Helena Devereux, the organization operates a comprehensive national network of clinical, therapeutic, educational, and employment programs and services that positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of children, adults – and their families – every year. Focused on clinical advances emerging from a new understanding of the brain, its unique approach combines evidence-based interventions with compassionate family engagement.

Serving more than 5,000 children each day through a continuum of behavioral healthcare services statewide, Devereux Florida is a recognized partner for families, schools and communities, serving many Florida’s most vulnerable individuals in the areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health, and child welfare. Programs are offered in hospital, residential, community and school-based settings. For more than a century, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has been guided by a simple and enduring mission: To change lives by unlocking and nurturing human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral or cognitive differences. www.devereuxfl.org.

About the Florida Behavioral Health Association

The Florida Behavioral Health Association is a non-profit organization that provides statewide leadership on behavioral health policy and practice. FBHA supports member agencies offering services to those in need of mental health and substance use disorder assistance and support. The Association’s members include a broad range of provider types, ranging from small specialty organizations to comprehensive treatment organizations with multiple locations within a geographic region. FBHA is the result of a recent merger between the Florida Council for Community Mental Health and the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association. For more information please visit www.floridabha.org.