Position: President and CEO
Organization: The Providence Center
Service area: Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts
Main services: Includes outpatient and residential services for adults with mental health and/or substance abuse issues; children and families coping with emotional, psychiatric, and behavioral issues; and special education school for youths with psychiatric issues
Number of staff: 500+
Most vivid behavioral healthcare memory: "My wife and I have three special needs children. I came to understand the experiences individuals and families have in the behavioral healthcare system through the successes, challenges, frustrations, and failures we encountered while seeking help as parents. Our experiences guide my decisions each day as I strive to make it easier for consumers to receive the help they need."
Favorite quote: "It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped." —Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey
"I became interested in behavioral health as an undergraduate at Brandeis University. I was looking for a summer job—any job—when I interviewed with a woman who recognized something in me that I didn't see in myself. She hired me to work with problem kids. I had not chosen social services as my career path and had no confidence in my ability to help anyone but myself. I discovered that I loved the work!
"I have had the privilege of serving people with behavioral health needs on many levels—as a clinician, as CEO of three community mental health centers, and as board chair of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. Throughout my career, I have expanded services through partnerships and collaborations while working with staff to instill integrity and soul into each organization.
"Three years ago I joined The Providence Center as president/CEO. My focus has been providing quality care for consumers through best clinical and business practices. I have worked to establish partnerships, a strong leadership team, innovative technology, a sense of teamwork and open communication throughout the organization—all to more effectively meet client needs.
"My vision is simple, to ensure that people who need help receive it. People with mental illness and substance use problems are some of our most vulnerable citizens. We must not forget that, as a society, we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone receives quality services and is treated with dignity and respect.
"I learned a long time ago that no one accomplishes anything alone. Individual success is linked to many people's efforts and energy. I am grateful to my family and the many people who supported me throughout my career. They are the true 'champions.â€™â€
The 2007 Behavioral Health Champion Awards are sponsored by Netsmart Technologies.