Kyle J. Penniman

By Megan Wadding, January 2017 Issue.

Sierra Tucson Treatment Center honored Stonewall Institute’s founder and CEO Kyle J. Penniman (pictured) with its 2016 Spirit Recognition Award at its nineth annual “Gratitude For Giving” celebration Dec. 2 at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix.

This award honors a professional who has assisted clients in a specialty area such as eating disorders, chemical dependency or mental health.

For Penniman, those contributions have been within the local behavioral health community in advancing clinical knowledge and advocacy for LGBTQ clients and families.

Penniman, who has worked in the addiction treatment field for nearly 20 years and is a licensed therapist, founded the institute having seen a great need for such a facility in Arizona.

“Research affirms that a non-judging and empathetic environment fosters the greatest likelihood that one will succeed in recovering from addiction,” Penniman explained. “Prior to 2009, facilities throughout the state lacked training and education in how to best serve LGBTQ clients and families. Many clinicians here in Arizona struggled with not transferring their own personal biases and judgment onto LGBT clients and families.”

These factors, Penniman added, really ignited him and directly led to his desire to create Stonewall Institute, a licensed outpatient substance abuse treatment facility located in Phoenix. The company was founded in 2009 to address substance use and behavioral health related issues for the LGBTQ community.

“While not exclusively LGBTQ, we do have a unique expertise in serving the needs of the community,” Penniman said. “We are privately funded and take major health insurance ... and offer training and education to clinicians throughout the state.”

Honorees received award recognition in the following categories: compassion, hope, humility, spirit and gratitude.

“My receipt of the Spirit Award was really a culmination of all of my work in Arizona over the past 10 years,” Penniman said. “The reason I won the award is because of my significant contribution to the local behavioral health community in advancing clinical knowledge and advocacy for LGBTQ clients and families.”

While Sierra Tucson hosts this annual event, Penniman explained that the award winner is selected through a nomination process by clinicians and medical providers throughout the Valley.

“Sierra Tucson is an internationally known and respected leader in the treatment of addictions, behavioral disorders, and chronic pain,”  Penniman added. “In the field of addiction treatment, they are one of the most highly regarding providers in the country.”

Additionally, Penniman said he has big plans for 2017 concerning the future expansion of Stonewall Institute. But, for now, he's keeping the details under wraps.

For more information on Sierra Tucson, visit For more information on Stonewall Institute, visit

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