State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and Jennifer Michaels, MD, to be Honored by The Brien Center on Nov. 1

PITTSFIELD – October, 2018 – The Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will honor State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and Jennifer Michaels, MD, at its annual UNICO dinner on November 1.

“Both Smitty Pignatelli and Dr. Jennifer Michaels are two of our community’s most dedicated public servants,” said M. Christine Macbeth, CEO of the Brien Center. “Their dedication to our mission and their tireless efforts on behalf of individuals and families in need of our care have greatly enriched this community. Berkshire County is a better and more caring place because of them.”

Dr. Michaels, who has served as the Brien Center’s Medical Director for the last 20 years, is stepping away from that role but will continue on as Medical Director of Adult and Family Services – two of the agency’s divisions.  She has been a relentless crusader for those living with addiction and has worked to educate the community about the stigma that prevents people from getting help for addiction.

“Hate the disease of addiction and not the people who suffer from it,” she often says. “It’s time to erase our biased image of this disease and attack the epidemic. Our brothers, sisters, parents, neighbors, and children are the afflicted. We need funding, research, compassion, and access to comprehensive care.”

In addition to her work at the Brien Center, Dr. Michaels is a staff psychiatrist at Berkshire Medical Center, an adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and has her own private practice.

Rep. Smitty Pignatelli is a longtime Brien Center partner, friend, and advocate who was instrumental in securing more addiction recovery beds in the Berkshires through constant advocacy at the Statehouse in Boston. His tireless efforts, including constant phone calls and weekly in-person visits, ensured that state officials were aware of the Brien Center’s work. Pignatelli’s strong advocacy led to state funding for the Brien Center’s Keenan House for Women recovering from addiction, including space for postpartum women and their babies.

“The Brien Center serves all of Berkshire County and Smitty has been our partner in recognizing that addiction is a county-wide issue and that the Brien Center is on the front lines of this struggle every day,” Macbeth said.

The dinner will be held on Thursday, November 1, at 5:30 at the Berkshire Hills Country Club.   The event is open to the public; however, reservations in advance would be appreciated.  For tickets and information, contact Mary Murphy at 413-629-1272 or [email protected].

The Brien Center is a community-based, non-profit agency providing behavioral health services to about 10,000 children, adolescents, and adults each year throughout Berkshire County.   For more information visit,