Dr. David Shern, President and CEO of Mental Health America, to Step Down from Post Next Year to Spend More Time with Family
Board Launches Search for Successor
Contact: Steve Vetzner, (703) 797-2588 or email@example.com
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (December 6, 2011)-Dr. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America, has announced his intention to step down from his post next year to spend more time with his family.
Dr. Shern, who has served in his current position since September, 2006, made the announcement at the December Mental Health America Board of Directors meeting. A search committee has been formed by the Board to find a successor by next summer or early fall.
"My decision stems from a desire to spend more time with my partner, Mary Evans, who retired from the University of South Florida in December 2010," Dr. Shern said. "I'm quite excited about all of our current initiatives and hope to stay actively involved with the organization in another capacity once I step down as CEO.
"In particular, I hope to be able to continue work on the prevention and promotion initiatives, as well as on the activities in support of greater patient involvement in the research enterprise and comparative effectiveness research.
"With the board's consent, I will continue as President and CEO through the recruitment process, which I hope will be completed by summer or early fall of next year."
Pender McElroy, Chair of Mental Health America's Board of Directors, praised Dr. Shern's work and leadership of the organization.
“It is with regret that the MHA Board has learned of David Shern’s decision to step down as CEO,” McElroy said. “David has provided a strong and articulate voice for the Mental Health Movement and Mental Health America. He has been a visionary in the many initiatives he has led. During challenging times, he has kept a steady hand on the helm of Mental Health America. He will be sorely missed.
"A search committee has been formed and will begin the task of finding a new President and CEO immediately. We are pleased that David will continue in his current role until we can name a successor.
"With David, the Board is proud of Mental Health America's accomplishments and its leading role nationally in raising the importance and educating millions of the fundamental nature of mental health to overall health. We will build on this legacy and over a century of progress under a new leader for the organization."
Dr. Shern said the organization had made important strides in raising recognition of the importance mental health and winning new policy changes at the federal level.
"In September 2012, I will finish my sixth year as leader of Mental Health America. Those six years have been filled with many challenges and even more achievements. The renaming of the organization in 2006 and its Centennial in 2009 gave us opportunities to reflect on our legacy and our future. Our work to develop an integrating theme of wellness that is relevant for all people regardless of their current health status positioned the organization powerfully for the health care reform efforts during the last two years. The final passage of mental health parity legislation in 2008-and its expansion in the Affordable Care Act-positions mental health and addiction issues as integral to overall health.
"Mental Health America has been a leader in these discussions. We helped to establish the Whole Health Campaign (now the Coalition for Whole Health), which, for the first time, spoke with one voice for the mental health and substance use communities in the 2008 Presidential race, as well as in the health care reform and parity implementation debate. Given our broad perspective on the role of mental health, mental illness and addictions in overall health and our understanding of their relationship with academic and occupational achievement, we are poised to lead the national conversation on strengthening our human capital infrastructure. I plan to continue to work on these issues and, by reducing my span of responsibilities, to be able to concentrate more intensely on them.
"It has been a great privilege to lead Mental Health America and I look forward to a terrific future for the organization."
Mental Health America (www.mentalhealthamerica.net) is the nation's largest and oldest community-based network dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. With our more than 300 affiliates across the country, we touch the lives of millions-Advocating for changes in mental health and wellness policy; Educating the public & providing critical information; and delivering urgently needed mental health and wellness Programs and Services.