A final note before my retirement

Dr. Amy Kohn is retiring this week as the CEO of the MHA of Westchester.
She has been an innovative leader in recognizing the trends in the future
of health care policy and mental health integration. She has created and
fostered relationships with community partners that will pay dividends for
peers and families for years to come. Her optimism, intelligence and
compassion will be greatly missed by all of us who have had the pleasure of
working with her. Listed below is her final letter as the CEO.

We also welcome Charlotte Ostman as the new CEO. Charlotte has been with
the MHA of Westchester for the last several years and has a wonderful
reputation in the behavioral health community. The MHA Community will
continue to be in great hands in Westchester as it is with our innovate
leaders throughout the State. If you would like more information about our
26 affiliates or our work in Albany, go to www.mhanys.org.

The relationships we build every day matter.

A Letter from the CEO

Several years ago, I asked my daughter – then in high school – if she knew
what type of career she wanted to pursue.

“I’d like to do something that matters, I guess,” she said. Her answer,
casual yet profound, caused me to pause and reflect on my own career. Had
what I’d been doing for four decades, across several agencies, mattered?

When I served as the Clinical Director of Hawthorne Cedar Knolls
Residential Treatment Center, I formed invaluable relationships with the
young adults with whom I worked closely. I often kept in touch with them
after they left the center, and these connections had a lifelong impact on
me. Many told me that if it weren’t for the interactions they’d had with
the Hawthorne Cedar Knolls community, they may not be alive today. *I know
those relationships mattered.*

I also know that my work with Center Lane in the 90s helped LGBTQ teenagers
in a profound way. The only program of its kind in Westchester at the time,
Center Lane created a safe space for young adults to drop in, engage in
support groups and establish important friendships with other LGBTQ
teenagers. For many, those peer relationships were the most meaningful they
had formed up to that point.* The bonds formed at Center Lane mattered.*

For the last ten years, I have had the pleasure – and honor – of serving as
CEO here at MHA, where I have witnessed remarkable changes in the delivery
of behavioral health care. The work of our care managers, therapists, peer
specialists, child advocates and housing and employment staff is uniquely
profound in affecting lives. By connecting people to their hopes and
dreams, to their community resources and to a network of caring providers,
we respect and support the whole health of the individuals we serve. *The
relationships we build every day matter. *

After my daughter’s reply provoked me to think back on my career, I had an
answer about my own work. Yes, it has mattered. But that work is possible –
and only happens through – these meaningful relationships.

As this is my last letter as CEO before my retirement, I would like to sign
off with this: in these times of uncertainty, discord and attacks to our
core values of human dignity and respect for the people we are here to
serve, it is more important than ever to turn to the relationships that
mean the most. They sustain us, nurture us and inspire us. Thank you for
supporting MHA and for all you do in helping to create a community that
fosters these important, life-changing relationships.

With gratitude,
Amy Kohn

 

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