Associate Executive Director for Behavioral Health Services
Q What brought you to The Child Center of NY?
A: My previous experiences have been in behavioral health, quality improvement, and services to children and families (including foster care and adoption). Most recently, I was at another organization overseeing outpatient clinics, mobile crisis, PROS [Personalized Recovery Oriented Services], and home visiting services, where I used data and metrics to help ensure that we were meeting financial and quality outcome expectations. I was attracted to being presented an opportunity to do some of that same type of work here at The Child Center. And as a longtime advocate for children and families, I was particularly drawn to the mission and the amazing work that The Child Center accomplishes throughout Queens.
Q What is your day-to-day like?
A: It’s hard to describe an “average” day — I really never know what is going to come up on a daily basis, and I like that type of environment! I usually have a number of meetings at Central Office during the week which focus on overall agency operations and systems concerns. My office is at the South Jamaica Clinic, which is great, because I have an opportunity to see our program operations as they happen! I usually work out of that office one or two days a week. In addition, I touch base regularly with all my program managers in the OMH/OASAS [New York State Office of Mental Health/Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services] and home visiting programs. I also spend time trying to help address issues with our electronic health records, HR-related challenges, and overall agency strategic goals and objectives that the senior team has established to help position the agency for the future.
Q What inspires you?
A: I’m inspired by staff and their commitment to the mission and the people we serve. I believe that when you treat staff right, they will serve our program participants in the best ways possible. I’m inspired by looking at the impact we can have on our program participants, and their resilience despite the sometimes overwhelming challenges that they face. I never underestimate the impact we have on our program participants; every time we interact with children and families we serve, we forever change their footprint — that’s a huge responsibility. I’m also inspired by the senior leadership at The Child Center — they are brilliant, and visionary. They make my daily work feel connected to a bigger purpose and vision, and that inspires me to think about what I want my legacy to be when I’m gone.
Q Any big plans or changes ahead you’d like to share?
A: YES — huge changes! New York State had embarked on a tremendous change in how it views behavioral health in the larger context of “health and wellness,” and The Child Center is poised to be a major player in this new arena. Addressing behavioral health is being recognized as critical in managing the cost and effectiveness of primary healthcare services. My vision for the future is that we help reduce the stigma that still persists about getting help with mental health and substance abuse services by offering “health and wellness” centers that include behavioral health services along with primary medical services. More and more, it will be likely that those behavioral and medical services will be provided in community settings and not in “clinics.” This is all very exciting to me. Over the many years of my career, these are changes that were often talked about, but never implemented.