North Country CMH Announces CEO Retirement

North Country Community Mental Health (NCCMH) has announced the retirement of its Chief Executive Officer, Christine Gebhard, on July 1, 2022. Ms. Gebhard has been in the CEO position since April 2017 and has worked for NCCMH for the past 25 years.

“It has been an honor and privilege to work for North Country Community Mental Health the past 25 years. When I was offered the CEO position, I was intent on being a transformational leader. Fortunately, I’ve had the benefit of a highly supportive board, an exceptionally cohesive and dedicated executive team, and a cadre of professional and paraprofessional staff committed to our mission.  I never imagined we’d be facing a two+ year pandemic, and yet another legislative threat to privatize our locally-governed public behavioral health system.”

According to Ed Ginop, NCCMH Board Chair, “It was Ms. Gebhard’s vision for the organization, and her encouragement of the Board to heavily invest in information technology, that let staff quickly adapt to the virtual environment brought on by the COVID pandemic.  Clients continued to receive needed services through telehealth, now in-person, while staff remained connected across our six counties through Zoom.  Our [the Board’s] confidence in Ms. Gebhard’s leadership and commitment to fulfilling our mission has been unwavering.”

Gebhard’s organizational development initiatives have included implementation of the LEAN management system as a means to improve service quality and efficiency, a multi-year investment in technology and data systems, an outcomes framework to demonstrate value-based performance measures, and strengthening community partnerships.

Gebhard also spearheaded adoption of the Stepping Up Initiative, a collaborative partnership with sheriffs and other county stakeholders to prevent unnecessary incarceration of individuals with mental illness by diverting them into treatment. To date, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Antrim, and Kalkaska Counties are engaged in the Stepping Up process.

“Throughout her tenure as CEO,” said Vice-Chair Karla Sherman, “Ms. Gebhard has brought innovation into the organization.  Her firm will and tireless effort to reach out and create positive, productive communication within the organization and also with county commissioners, law enforcement, sheriffs, health departments, and hospitals has greatly enhanced the public behavioral health system and the community at-large.  Ms. Gebhard has been a constant voice in advocating with state legislators and policy makers for the health and wellbeing of the citizens of northern Michigan…that voice will be greatly missed.”

The NCCMH Board of Directors has approved a contract with Rehmann to assist with the search for a new CEO.