Mona Blanton-Kitts (’85, ’91)

Category: Alumni Professional Achievement | Awards

2023 Alumni Professional Achievement Award Winner

Mona Blanton-Kitts serves as the president and CEO of the McNabb Center, East Tennessee’s leading non-profit provider of mental health, substance use, and social and victim services. She received two bachelor’s degrees in psychology and social work in addition to a master’s in social work from UT and has held her LCSW license since 1995. Through coaching and mentoring, Blanton-Kitts provides clinical and licensed supervision to the field’s professionals.

Blanton-Kitts joined the McNabb Center in 1986 as a direct-care provider working with the Serious and Persistent Mentally Ill (SPMI) population. She has served in her current role as president/CEO since September 2022. Prior to her current position, she served as president from 2021-2022 and regional vice president from 2006-2021. Blanton-Kitts has spent her clinical career working with both adult and child populations, as well as family systems; she has focused on creating a safe, stigma-free environment where families seeking care feel welcome and comfortable.

Blanton-Kitts holds extensive experience in tracking trauma and understands the trauma’s impact on mental illness. Recognizing that trauma is often the basis for alcohol and drug use, emotional issues, and criminal activity, she has pioneered new programming to address and heal emotional damage. Experienced in multiple facets of mental health care including private practice, Blanton-Kitts has devoted her life’s work to community mental health; she expresses her commitment to community through her advocacy of behalf of underserved populations. As a skilled grant writer, Blanton Kitts strives for policy change to fill gaps in care.

Blanton-Kitts’ responsiveness to mental health needs extends beyond East Tennessee communities. When Hurricane Katrina displaced families from their homes in 2005, Blanton-Kitts provided mental health services and worked tirelessly to relocate victims and their beloved pets to Knoxville. When she was contacted by the Restavek Freedom Foundation, she spent two weeks in Haiti training staff to aid neglected and abused children forced into household slavery and setting up a behavior management system for homeless youth.

Based in Knoxville, Blanton-Kitts manages a workforce of nearly 1,300 staff members, a budget of over $97 million, and oversees programs in thirty counties. She currently serves on the Knox County Infant and Child Fatality Review Board and the Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organization’s (TAMHO) board of directors. In 2002, Blanton-Kitts was awarded the Dorthea Dix Professional Service award by TAMHO for her work providing innovative services in her field.