The idea of forming a NAMI affiliate in Prince William County took root in 2004 on a winter night that Phil Ross, a board member with NAMI Northern Virginia, met Dr. David Carlini, then Director of Behavioral Medicine at the Prince William Hospital Center for Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment. Both men had just come from a “Meet Your Legislators” meeting at the McCoart Building. “So standing in the snow-filled parking lot after the meeting, I mentioned to Dave that I was on the board of directors for the NAMI affiliate in Falls Church.
“Dave’s first question was, ‘Why isn’t there an affiliate in Prince William County?” That accidental meeting was the embryonic start of what would ultimately turn out to be NAMI Prince William.”
Dave agreed to facilitate early meetings at Prince William Hospital; Phil agreed to try to create a “critical mass” of prospective members.
“I was considered to be the de facto president during our formative years,” Phil says. “During the process of our becoming an official affiliate, I was elected to be president and chairman of the board among many other miscellaneous roles such as unofficial webmaster and virtual office manager,” as well as historian and custodian of affiliate records.
In 2006, a steering committee petitioned NAMI Virginia for affiliate status, which was quickly granted. In 2007, the national NAMI board of directors voted to uphold the decision of NAMI Virginia and approve formation of the Prince William affiliate.
Shortly after NAMI Prince William became incorporated in 2007, NAMI Virginia nominated Phil to become a member of its board where he served for a number of years.