Staff Spotlight: Robert Cizma, Vice President of Health Homes and Integrated Care
“My philosophy has always been ‘it takes a village.’ We want to help families so they get to the point where they don’t need us. In other words, we want to be that village.”
Robert Cizma is all about comprehensive services and wraparound treatment, having had the opportunities over his 30-year+ career to view client needs at every level. His extensive experience in behavioral health services, as a line worker on up to his current position as Vice President of Health Homes and Integrated Care for The Child Center of NY, has provided him with a unique perspective. The new position, initiated with Robert’s hiring, creates a fifth program area for the agency.
It’s hard not to notice the excitement with which Robert speaks of the agency’s adoption of the NYS Health Home Program, an innovative optional plan for Medicaid eligible individuals. Many families who receive services are doing well but some struggle to find the services they need for their child. The Health Home model (which is not a physical location or an actual home) allows all of a child’s providers to communicate and share records, with one Resource Coordinator at the helm, so that services are not duplicated or neglected, and so that the focus remains on strengthening families to prevent crisis and pave the way for long term success and wellbeing.
In addition to Health Homes, Robert’s role puts him in charge of all of The Child Center’s Home Visiting services: Step-Down, Home Based Crisis Intervention, and Waiver, as well as some Preventive services, all of which he says are right in his “wheelhouse,” and embodying another example of how this agency stands out from other social services organizations.
“What brought me here is that I take a 40,000 foot view from things, and I see that same commitment to the “bigger picture” in Traci’s leadership style. She recognizes the value of human capital, as do I. If someone working for me has an idea that challenges mine, I want to hear it. I like to be challenged.”
With nearly 70 employees in Robert’s program area, those challenges are likely to come often. But, as he puts it, quoting The Lion King, “Change is hard, but change is also good.”