Meridian Health Services - CURRENT Summer 2018

spirit of meridian current Prosecutor reshapes office to think proactively in helping people change lives “Jeff has been a community warrior,” Milius said. “His commitment to initiating positive change has been a huge influence on our community and on Meridian.” The partnership with Meridian has evolved, Arnold said, adding that Meridian has been key to taking positive steps toward addressing the problem of drug addiction in Delaware County. “We couldn’t do anything without Meridian,” Arnold said, adding that one of Meridian’s newest endeavors, the Maternal Treatment Program, is a critically important part of the whole-person health and well-being of the community. “Meridian has stepped forward, particularly in the last two or three years, and acknowledged there aren’t any services for this and somebody’s got to start something. They’ve done that.” Arnold wasn’t always sure it was his role, as a prosecutor, to get involved at the grassroots level of addiction programming. But it was his staff that urged him to take up the cause. “This award isn’t for me,” Arnold said of the Spirit recognition. “It’s for my staff. I couldn’t have done any of this without them.” For example, Arnold said his office made a deliberate decision to be part of the conversation as it pertained to mothers addicted to drugs and the effects on their lives and the lives of their newborns. Arnold asked himself, “Am I supposed to spend time on this? Do we have the staff time?” “As a staff, we decided we had to get involved or we’ll be drowning in this for years,” he said. Another example is Meridian’s wraparound services—as they exist today for new mothers, from prenatal care to school vaccines—that makes working together effective. “You’ve heard the saying a ‘war on drugs’? There was never any war on drugs. There was mass incarceration. It didn’t work. The war needed to be a war on attitudes about drug use. That’s what we need. We need education. That’s what Meridian is doing for the community.” F FOR CHANGING THE NARRATIVE ABOUT DRUG ADDICTION in Delaware County, and for his tireless efforts to bring addiction treatment and recovery programs to those who need it most, Meridian Health Services awarded Delaware County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Arnold the 2018 Spirit of Meridian award. The annual recognition is awarded to someone “who has contributed significantly to the overall health of our community, and somebody who goes above and beyond the call of duty,” said Hank Milius, president and CEO of Meridian Health Services. Arnold, who is retiring after serving as a deputy prosecuting attorney for 23 years and the last eight years as Delaware County prosecutor, has been an invaluable partner with Meridian, which opened the Maternal Treatment Program at the Suzanne Gresham Center just last year. At Rialzo IX, Meridian’s annual charity gala, held on April 14 this year, the evening’s theme “A Whole New World” took on special meaning because Arnold, through his contributions and perseverance, helped create “whole new lives” in Muncie and Delaware County communities. “Good prosecutors know there’s more to prosecution than obtaining convictions,” said Arnold, who keeps a plaque with a saying to that effect in his front office as a reminder to himself, his staff and his visitors about the mission of the prosecutor’s office. “It’s a philosophy I adopted. You have to do the right things for the right reasons.” Arnold, an outspoken advocate of community partnerships, has reshaped the prosecutor’s office to think “proactively, not reactively.” “You have to try to get ahead of some of these problems and be a proactive partner with service providers,” Arnold said. Milius said Arnold’s commitment to community made him the standout choice for the 2018 recognition. 34 CURRENT | Meridian Health Services | Summer 2018