A Leader's Vision for Mental Health Empowering Mental Wellness: Strategies from a Top Treatment Center
Could you provide an explanation of what an Eating Disorder is, and how your center approaches the treatment of patients with such disorders?
Eating Recovery Center (ERC) and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center (Pathlight) comprise the nation’s leading mental health care system dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders and primary mood, anxiety and trauma-related disorders.
ERC specializes in treating patients struggling with eating disorders and related conditions including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, diabulimia, binge eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), and unspecified eating disorders (OSFED) and co-occurring conditions. Pathlight specializes in treatment for mood and anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, depression and mania, trauma-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as co-occurring substance use disorder. ERC and Pathlight combined provide holistic innovative, evidence-based, treatment programs tailored for patients of all ages, genders, races and ethnicities. Working closely with patients as well as their families, ERC and Pathlight’s multi-disciplinary treatment programs are designed to help illuminate their unique paths forward and provide a foundation for resilience and long-lasting mental wellness.
What is anxiety, and are there various categories of anxiety? How can one identify if an individual is experiencing anxiety?
Several types of anxiety disorders exist:
- Agoraphobiais a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
- Anxiety disorder due to a medical conditionincludes symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are directly caused by a physical health problem.
- Generalized anxiety disorderincludes persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about activities or events — even ordinary, routine issues. The worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, is difficult to control and affects how you feel physically. It often occurs along with other anxiety disorders or depression.
- Panic disorderinvolves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). You may have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a rapid, fluttering or pounding heart (heart palpitations). These panic attacks may lead to worrying about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they’ve occurred.
- Selective mutismis a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. This can interfere with school, work and social functioning.
- Separation anxiety disorderis a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that’s excessive for the child’s developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)involves high levels of anxiety, fear and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.
- Specific phobiasare characterized by major anxiety when you’re exposed to a specific object or situation and a desire to avoid it. Phobias provoke panic attacks in some people.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorderis characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are a direct result of misusing drugs, taking medications, being exposed to a toxic substance or withdrawal from drugs.
- Other specified anxiety disorder and unspecified anxiety disorderare terms for anxiety or phobias that don’t meet the exact criteria for any other anxiety disorders but are significant enough to be distressing and disruptive.
Could you elaborate on the range of therapies and treatments that your center offers to patients?
ERC and Pathlight offer Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) levels of care in centers across the country as well as Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) and Ketamine treatment (sub-anesthetic doses of ketamine have been demonstrated to have rapid and sustained antidepressant effects, and accumulating research has demonstrated ketamine’s therapeutic effects for a range of psychiatric conditions), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), Virtual PHP and VIOP (video) tele-behavioral health services
Can you guide our readers through your professional journey, shedding light on both your personal growth and your role as a business leader?
After over 20 years in the military (UK/US), I have been fortunate to have worked in a variety of healthcare settings for nearly 20 years, including consumer-directed healthcare, a private wound care practice, clinical research, anesthesia, and behavioral health (non-profit). For the past 2.5 years, I have been in behavioral health with a concentration in eating disorders and mood/anxiety. My journey to the C-suite has been diverse, driven by a desire to innovate within my businesses, and to develop and nurture talent. I aspire to be a challenging and strategic leader, unconfined by subject area boundaries, and capable of identifying opportunities, whether they are related to people, processes, or technology. My greatest pride is derived from the teams and individuals I have the opportunity to work with and the chance to nourish their individual needs while fostering their confidence and skills.
Reflecting on your career, do you have a moment that you consider as pivotal and particularly gratifying?
Without a doubt, my greatest period of satisfaction was when I developed the business case to support a behavioral health non-profit, designing an industry-leading electronic medical record. As President, I identified a significant gap in the tools available to behavioral health providers in the non-profit space. I was given the opportunity to form a startup/spinoff company and team dedicated to delivering on the expectations of clinical providers, culminating in the lucrative sale and exit of the product in a relatively short timeframe.
Balancing professional and personal life can be challenging. Could you share your approach to achieving that equilibrium?
I cannot profess to have much success in balancing work/life. I enjoy the personal challenge of committing myself to the mission ahead of me, but I do aspire to be able to turn off the work spigot and disconnect. However, I will admit to not accomplishing that most of the time.
What qualities should a young entrepreneur aim to possess in their journey as a businessperson?
Be inquisitive, receptive to the knowledge that every person you meet can provide you, and be conscious that your success is dictated by your ability to establish relationships/rapport with a diverse group of individuals. Attitude and aptitude are everything.
Recognizing your achievement as the most innovative leader of 2023 by Biz Tech Outlook, could you introduce yourself and your team to our readers?
I take great pride in having formed a team of nearly 50 professionals in four disciplines, Clinical Information Systems (13 people), who are responsible for the maintenance and support of our electronic medical record, and our highly customized Sales Force environment.
Data Strategy Team (7 people), that have designed and implemented a robust Data Warehouse/Lake in MS Azure, we are now actively transitioning from legacy reporting in PowerBI to a more analytical philosophy with a goal of providing data that can provide our leadership and clinical teammates with actionable business insights.
IT Infrastructure and Operations (15 people), who own the challenge of providing IT Support, devices and networking/telephony backbone of the organization.
Enterprise Project Management Office, a team of 10 project managers and business analysts that have earned the respect of the organization in being able to provide governance and expertise to a multitude of disparate enterprise projects. I am fortunate to have hired domain experts in each of these areas that are empowered and effective at multi-tasking and maintaining composure during an extremely dynamic private equity backed organization.
“A National Leader in Eating Disorder Treatment”
“Reducing patient stress”
“Pathlight: Life changing mental wellness that’s right for you”