My career began as a mental health and addictions counselor in community mental health agencies in addition to maintaining a private practice for many years. I later worked as the director of an out-patient treatment agency and for the last ten years have been the director of a county mental health board in North Central Ohio. We are working to establish a community mental health system based on the principles of Recovery, Trauma-Informed Care and Medication Optimization.
I have been interested in the impact of violence, abuse and neglect throughout my career, and for the past several years have been especially interested in violence and trauma as it relates to organizations and communities. This includes work in the area of mental health programs, integrated healthcare and in educational settings.
Since 2005, I have been the co-chair of a statewide task force to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint in mental health care, beginning with children's residential treatment programs. These reform efforts have garnered the support of 23 professional and advocacy organizations in Ohio representing consumers, physicians, educators and providers. Unfortunately, we are now working with our third Governor and state administration, all who have failed to provide the leadership needed to fulfill commitments they have made to address this important issue. We refuse to give up, however, and are currently seeking new strategies to promote these reforms. More information and an advocacy toolkit are available on our website: www.ashlandmhrb.org.
More recently, I became involved in a state-wide initiative focused on integration of behavioral and primary health care. The ACE study provides a valuable and useful framework for this initiative.
In addition, I am currently the chair of a local community college board of trustees. I plan to begin working to establish an initiative to promote trauma-sensitive college campuses in Ohio and hope to collaborate with the Center for Trauma Informed Learning in Post-Secondary Education at MassBay Community College in Massachusetts and other similar initiatives.
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