On May 19, NAMI Westside Los Angeles presented its 2019 Distinguished Service award to Blaise Aguirre, MD. He was honored at the group’s Annual Gala, held at the home of philanthropist and mental health advocate Stanley Black. Aguirre is the founding medical director of McLean’s 3East continuum.
NAMI Westside Los Angeles is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Health. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization.
NAMI Westside Los Angeles presents the award each year “in recognition of exceptional efforts to further NAMI’s goal of improving the lives of people living with mental illness.” Recent recipients include Mary Elizabeth “Tipper” Gore, writer Chirlane McCray, former New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. Current Sacramento, California, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have also been honored.
Aguirre was recognized for his work in the treatment of mood and personality disorders in adolescents, He has been working with NAMI for some 12 years, participating in fundraising and advocacy activities and lecturing at NAMI events. Aguirre has been a staff psychiatrist at McLean since 2000.
“I am honored that NAMI Westside Los Angeles recognized me for something that I really love doing,” Aguirre said on winning the award. “Working with extremely suicidal people is not something that many people dedicate their lives to. I’m pleased to accept this award in recognition of all of my colleagues who are committed to this work.”
Aguirre thanked the Black family for sponsoring and hosting the NAMI event. He also acknowledged the support he has received from his colleagues at McLean Hospital. “None of the work that we do with very suicidal patients can happen in a void,” he said. “This award is, in some ways, a reflection of McLean’s administration for believing in 3East and the many clinicians who have supported our programs.”