PAIMI Advisory Council

What is the PAIMI Act?

In 1986, Congress took significant action to stop abuse, neglect, and other rights violations against people with mental health disabilities by passing the Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act. The PAIMI Act expanded the mandate of Protection & Advocacy (P&A) organizations, like DRNC, to include advocacy for people with mental health disabilities. In the early years, the Act only included services for people living in or recently discharged from institutions. But in 2000, Congress expanded the PAIMI Act to include advocacy on behalf of people with mental health disabilities living in the community. The PAIMI Act authorizes DRNC to investigate abuse and neglect against people with mental health disabilities, and to advocate for their legal rights. This program is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

What is the PAIMI Advisory Council?

The PAIMI Act requires each P&A to maintain and work with a PAIMI Advisory Council (PAC). The PACs are comprised of people with experience, expertise and interest in mental health issues. Additionally, PAC members advise the P&As “on policies and priorities to be carried out in protecting and advocating the rights of individuals with mental illness.”

PACs must include:

  • Consumers of mental health services
  • Family members
  • Mental health professionals
  • Mental health service providers
  • Attorneys
  • People who are knowledgeable about mental illness

Sixty percent of the PAC members must be people who have received or are receiving mental health services, or their family members. Additionally, each PAC must be led by a person who has received or is receiving mental health services, or who is a family member.

What does DRNC’s PAIMI Advisory Council do?

DRNC’s PAIMI Advisory Council (PAC) advises our board and staff about issues in the mental health community. Their important work includes helping to shape our mental health advocacy plans and participating in our annual priority (“target”) setting process. PAC members play an important role, bringing information from the mental health community to DRNC, and from DRNC to the mental health community. They also file an annual report that describes and evaluates our mental health advocacy activities and effectiveness.

DRNC’s PAC members come from around the state. They educate our board and staff about issues facing people with mental health disabilities in North Carolina. They also help inform and involve the community in DRNC’s mental health advocacy work.

DRNC’s PAIMI Advisory Council Members:

  • Cherene Caraco of Charlotte – Chair
  • Gladys Christian of Winston-Salem
  • Marcia Cordova-Roth of Pittsboro
  • Lee James of Durham 
  • Tracy Boggiano of Cary
  • Pat DeVine of Hillsborough
  • Donna Foreman of Creedmoor
  • Davious Lee of Charlotte
  • Sonia Padial of Mebane
  • Ashley-Laren Small of Charlotte
  • Kathy Walker Smith of Asheville
  • Jan West of Rougemont
  • Keyetta (KeKe) Williams of Bethel

How to get involved

If you are interested in serving on DRNC’s PAIMI Advisory Council, please complete the form below-

If you would like to attend a PAIMI meeting, call 877-235-4210. Or, send us an email at for more information.

We appreciate your interest and support!


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