Desmond Lomax, Director of Community Programming for the Utah Department of Corrections, was selected as the recipient of the 41st Annual Utah Fall Substance Abuse Conference Patrick J. Fleming, Excellence in Public Service Award.
The honor, presented by the Utah State Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, recognizes those who provide public awareness and understanding of substance use disorders. Lomax received the award during a ceremony Sept. 18 at the group’s conference in St. George.
“We’re so appreciative of all the work Desmond and his team provide in terms of therapy and case management access in the state,” said Dan Blanchard, Director of Adult Probation and Parole, which oversees Lomax’s team. “(The award) validates the work and effort they are putting in.”
A graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of Phoenix, Lomax has been with the UDC since 2013. He previously worked as a deputy and sergeant with the Utah County Sheriff Office. His therapy history includes working with youth and adults.
The community programming unit collaborates with providers such as substance abuse treatment centers and behavioral health facilities to provide resources to those on probation or parole throughout the State of Utah.
“I think we’ve grown a lot as an organization in terms of working with community partners,” said Lomax. “We’ve done some significant things in the last five years. We’ve doubled, even tripled our efforts in the community.”
Those are efforts that have been noticed, said Shanel Long, Substance Abuse Disorder Administrator for the Utah State Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Long, who presented the award to Lomax during the conference, said he has shown “true leadership” in transforming the system to improve therapy.
“We’re honored to get to work with Desmond to be able to drive change,” she said, adding that Lomax was the first UDC employee to receive the award since its inception in 2015.
Blanchard noted that having the Lomax and his team identified for treatment work highlights the efforts of the UDC as a whole.
“We want to be trailblazers and be recognized as innovative and passionate about therapy and improving lives,” he said.
Lomax said advocating for those who need services and helping them find resources keeps him energized. He added that the UDC is at the forefront of the philosophical shift in corrections that focuses on treatment.
“We’ve gotten a lot better at treating people as people,” he said.
Public Information Office, October 7, 2019