Effective July 1, 2013, Tracy Plouck was appointed director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) by Gov. John Kasich, after serving as his director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH) since January 2011. She brings strong policy background to her role, having twice held the state Medicaid director position and also serving as a deputy director with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Additionally, Plouck has significant fiscal experience from her eight years with the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, most recently as deputy director for budget.
As OhioMHAS director, Tracy continues to be a member of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation (OHT). Gov. Kasich created OHT to modernize the state's Medicaid system and to better integrate public health efforts that support people with physical and behavioral health needs.
A native of Trumbull County, holds a master’s degree in public administration from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University. She was honored by The Ohio State University Alumni Association in June 2011 for exemplary work serving Ohioans through her state government positions.
As Gov. Kasich’s point person for one of his top priorities, the war on opiate abuse, Orman Hall brings much expertise to this role within the Governor’s Cabinet. He has more than 20 years of experience in the management, planning, monitoring and evaluation of public mental health and substance abuse services, and is widely regarded for his work around opiate addiction and prescription drug abuse. He served as Kasich’s director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) from January 2011 until June 2013.
Prior to joining ODADAS, Director Hall was executive director of the Fairfield County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board since 1989. He also served as Chairman of the Fairfield County Opiate Task Force. He holds a master’s degree in social science education and a bachelor’s degree in education, both from Marshall University.
Ohio Revised Code specifies that the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services must name a medical director to manage patient care and treatment at its state-run hospitals. In this role, Dr. Hurst provides clinical supervision and leadership to the medical and psychiatric staff at Ohio's six regional psychiatric hospitals. He also advises the OhioMHAS director on matters related to recruitment, research, community mental health and addiction services plans, and licensure of private hospitals and residential facilities.
Hurst joined OMDH in 1993 as a psychopharmacology consultant at Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare (TVBH) in Columbus. At TVBH, he progressed to assistant chief clinical officer for addiction psychiatry in 1998 and chief clinical officer in 2008. Prior to his career with the state, he held leadership positions in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry in the VA health system, at Harding Hospital and at The Ohio State University, where he remains an active clinical faculty member.
A native of Zanesville, Hurst was the 1981 class valedictorian at Muskingum College in New Concord. He graduated from the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo in 1985 and completed residency training at the University of Michigan and at The Ohio State University, where he served as chief resident in his final year of training. He is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry and has been recognized as a "Best Doctor in America" since 1995.
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Deputy Director for Quality and Planning
Sanford Starr has more than 30 years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields as a clinician, program director and state administrator. As deputy director of the Office of Quality and Planning, Starr provides administrative oversight of the department's research and planning activities, including the federal block grant. Starr oversees the community planning process for the state's 53 county mental health and addiction services boards, as well as the department’s monitoring and surveillance, performance management and outcomes activities.
Upon joining ODADAS in 1996, Starr was charged with reorienting the department’s planning structure from a compliance focus to a proactive focus that emphasized prioritization, strategic direction and results. He served on the ODADAS senior management team beginning in 2003, initially as chief of the Division of Treatment and Planning, and then as chief of the Division of Planning, Outcomes and Research. Prior to joining ODADAS, Starr held numerous clinical practice and management positions, specializing in the treatment of individuals with alcohol and other drug addictions and dual disorders. Starr earned a master's degree in social work and a bachelor's degree in psychology, both from The Ohio State University.
Jim began working at the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services in November 2002 and has served as deputy director and chief counsel since March 2011. From 1995 to 2002, Lapczynski was an assistant attorney general for the Ohio Attorney General in the Health and Human Services and Crime Victims Services sections. He earned his degree in criminology at The Ohio State University and his law degree from the University of Toledo.
Mehrizi’s career began at ODMH in 1985 as a project manager in the Office of Facilities, primarily focused on managing capital projects of state hospitals. When the office was reorganized in 1991 to include both capital policy and operations, Hamid became manager of operations and subsequently chief of the office in 2002. In 2009, the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA) chose Mehrizi for its President’s Partnering for Quality Award. Hamid has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Franklin University.
Myricks has spent his entire career in public service, beginning work with the ODMH Fiscal Office in 1988 fulfilling many responsibilities. He was promoted to chief in June 1999 and was made assistant deputy director in January 2008. He is responsible for all fiscal operations, which include business operations, community funding, revenue and recovery, community and hospital monitoring, payroll and budget. A native of Massillon, Myricks is a graduate of Wittenberg University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Conner oversees multiple areas, including personnel and benefits, affirmative action initiatives, education and training, labor relations and workers’ compensation. Before joining the department as a deputy director, Conner managed human resources and administration operations in the Office of the Ohio Public Defender and also worked at Limited Credit Services. Conner earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in public administration from The Ohio State University. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Franklin University and is a certified senior professional in human resources.
JP McInnes has more than 25 years of experience providing technology leadership to organizations of all types. He is responsible for all aspects of strategic IT planning, implementation and operation for OhioMHAS’ six hospitals, as well as its pharmaceutical, claims processing and analytics functions. Prior to joining the State of Ohio, McInnes worked as an independent consultant focused on operational architecture for Nationwide Insurance, served as the chief infrastructure architect for the military health service electronic medical record and was vice president of Integration and Operations for Verisign/Network Solutions. McInnes completed undergraduate studies in business and information systems and graduate studies in technology management and computer science.
With more than 18 years of experience in behavioral health and Medicaid policy, programs and operations , Bergefurd will oversee the Office of Community Support, the Office of Treatment and Recovery and the Office of Prevention and Wellness Services.
She joined ODMH in 2001 and has served as a behavioral healthcare systems policy advisor, assistant deputy director of Administrative Services, and chief of the Office of Health Integration. In addition, she held a variety of program and policy roles with Ohio Medicaid, including serving as the liaison to ODMH and the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.
Originally from Tuscarawas County, Bergefurd earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in public administration from The Ohio State University. She received the CEO’s Award for Distinguished Leadership from the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities in 2003 and the 2012 Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies Public Partner of the Year Award.
Collins brings 18 years of experience in administration, research and evaluation in the fields of behavioral health, justice and education to her new role where she will facilitate modernizing and integrating Ohio’s behavioral health prevention and intervention system.
She earned a doctorate of philosophy in human development and family science with a cognate area of adolescent behavioral health risk factors from The Ohio State University and holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Public Relations, both from Marshall University.
Collins previously served as a planning and research administrator at ODADAS from 2005 to 2007. She has held a variety of previous administrative and research positions with the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, The Ohio State University Center for Learning Excellence, the West Virginia Prevention Resource Center, and the State of West Virginia’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. She received the 2013 “Prevention Visionary Award” from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio.
Nixon-Hughes leads the OhioMHAS team that collaborates with consumers, families and stakeholders to plan community initiatives in the areas of board relationships, emergency preparedness, criminal justice and forensic services. She has more than 30 years of experience in mental health service delivery, and planning and policy development within local, county and state settings.
Before being appointed to ODMH as deputy director for Program and Policy Development, Nixon-Hughes served as chief of the Bureau of Mental Health Services for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, where she was responsible for program and budget planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Ohio's $68 million correctional mental health program for 50,000 offenders in 32 prisons.
A licensed independent social worker, Nixon-Hughes holds a bachelor’s degree in community mental health from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, and a master’s degree in social work administration from The Ohio State University. Earlier in her career, she served as interim director and deputy director of operations for the Hamilton County Mental Health Board and as executive director of the Columbus Area Community Mental Health Center.
More than 26 years of experience at ODMH will benefit Lynch in her new role at OhioMHAS. Those previous jobs included senior policy analyst with the Office of Heath Integration, project manager and technology coordinator with the Office of Information Services and fiscal policy planner.
Now, she leads implementation and oversight of sustainable treatment services and recovery supports for people with mental illness and substance abuse disorders that involve clinical integration, Medicaid services, housing, employment, Pre-Admission Screening and Resident Review and the Recovery Requires a Community program
Jody is a native of North Canton and a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Colletti was tapped as deputy director of Hospital Services at the end of 2012. As such, he is responsible for the operation of Ohio MHAS’s six regional psychiatric hospitals, as well as the department’s outpatient mental health and community support services. Colletti was previously chief executive officer at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare (NBH) in Northfield and has more than 25 years of experience in the field of mental health.
Colletti began his career as a caseworker at Summit County Children Services Board in 1984, then became director of social work services at Fallsview Psychiatric Hospital from 1993-1996. Subsequent to that position, he spent a decade doing crisis intervention, assessments and psychotherapy through community counseling centers such as Greenleaf Family Center. In 1996, he joined NBH as director of Social Work Services and Patient Care Coordinator, advancing to Cleveland campus administrator in 2001 before being appointed CEO of the hospital in 2009.
Colletti received his bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Akron in 1985 and his master’s in social administration from Case Western Reserve University in 1988. During 2000, he was named the Professional of the Year by the Ohio Chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
Donenwirth began his ODMH career at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare in its Research and Evaluation department, where he helped develop and lead the hospital’s combined research and computer departments. Later, he served as vice president of performance improvement, managing the areas of quality improvement, health information services, information technology, infection control and strategic planning. In 2000, Donenwirth moved to Hospital Services at ODMH’s administrative offices in Columbus, with responsibilities for policy analysis, performance improvement and strategic planning. He graduated from Brown University with a master’s degree in economics.
A Belpre resident, Krason has served as the chief executive officer of Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare since 2004. She began her career as a registered nurse at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, which led to more than 22 years of experience in the field of mental health in Ohio. Krason previously worked at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Marietta Memorial Hospital and at Selby General Hospital as director of Professional Services. She originally joined ODMH as the nurse executive at the former Cambridge hospital facility.
A native of Pittsburgh, Krason received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pennsylvania State University and a Masters of Health Services Administration from Ohio University.
Sims was appointed chief executive officer of Heartland Behavioral Healthcare in Massillon in October 2011, after having served as the nurse executive at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare since 2001. From 1994-2001, he was the clinical area supervisor at the Cleveland Psychiatric Institute.
In nursing since 1984, Sims received his associate’s degree in nursing from Cuyahoga Community College of Cleveland. He achieved both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Akron. Sims has a wide range of administrative and clinical experience in diverse health care settings with a primary focus in behavioral health. He is board certified as a psychiatric mental health nurse with eligibility for prescriptive privileges as an advanced practice nurse. In 2006, he was honored with an award for his work by the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County.
CEO of Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare
After serving in a variety of positions at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare since 1994, Kern was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in November 2013. Kern, who has more than 20 years of experience in the mental health field, previously served as the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer. Kern began his career at NBH with the Community Support Network (CSN) as a Therapeutic Program Worker and was promoted to director of CSN in 2004. Kern has served on the Hospital Executive Committee at NBH for the past 10 years and has been responsible for the Joint Commission, Licensure & Certification and CMS standards. He has been actively involved in the planning and construction of the new facility/renovations currently underway at NBH.
Kern is an Ohio Certified Public Manager and holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Bowling Green State University and a Master in Public Administration from Cleveland State University. He holds a Certification in Mental Health Executive Leadership from Case Western Reserve University and a Yellow Belt Certification (Six Sigma). He is also veteran who served a decade in the U.S. Army and Ohio National Guard.
Scheramic was appointed chief executive officer of Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in 2010. Prior to joining the department, he was director of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo. His previous experience also includes planning, management and leadership of inpatient and outpatient care agencies. He has held faculty positions at Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo, and has been on medical staff at St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo Hospital and Flower Hospital. He has also served as a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and the American Psychological Association.
A native of northwest Ohio, Scheramic received his bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University. In 1991, he completed a doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Chicago, with a specialization in Clinical Neuropsychology. He later received a MBA degree from the University of Toledo in 2001.
As the chief executive officer of Summit Behavioral Healthcare, Banks ensures the efficient operations of the hospital by tapping into more than 24 years of experience in the mental health and social service field. She previously served four years as the CEO of Memphis Mental Health Institute, the state psychiatric hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Additional experience includes 10-plus years of a clinical private practice, assistant administrator of the Mid-South Hospital (a private psychiatric facility) and executive director of the Exchange Clubs’ Child Abuse Prevention Center.
Banks received her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Intermont College, a Master’s of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, and she is a Licensed Independent Social Worker.
Lofton was named CEO of Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in Columbus in May 2014 after serving in a variety of clinical and leadership positions at the hospital. She began her career as a social worker in 1987 when the facility was known as Central Ohio Psychiatric Hospital. She subsequently advanced to risk manager/patient safety coordinator, director of Quality Assurance, director of Patient Services and acting CEO.
Lofton holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Elizabeth City State University and a Masters in Social Work from The Ohio State University.
Special Projects and Strategic Planning
Former deputy director for Administrative Services at the Ohio Department of Mental Health, Anderson supports the OhioMHAS director with overall policy guidance and is leading the agency’s strategic planning initiative.
Before joining the department, Anderson served as assistant director and then director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources from 1991 to 1999, and also held other positions in that department between 1972 and 1982. During the 1980s, Anderson worked in the private sector, where he served as vice president of Robert W. Teater and Associates. He began his career as a communications officer in the United States Air Force, attaining the rank of captain.
A native of Toledo, Anderson is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master ‘s in public administration. He received The Ohio State University School of Public Policy and Management Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1996.