Getting to Know Charlotte Ostman, LCSW-R, MHA's New CEO

The Mental Health Association of Westchester is pleased to announce the appointment of Charlotte Ostman, LCSW-R  to the position of Chief Executive Officer.

“The Board of Directors is delighted that Charlotte has become the next Chief Executive Officer of the organization. We are completely confident that she is the right person to lead MHA,” said Board of Directors President Michael Lombardi.

Ms. Ostman joined MHA in May 2015 in the newly created position of Chief Strategy Officer, a role designed to assist the organization to develop its capacity for responding to evolving environmental pressures and a rapidly changing world of healthcare. In her time at MHA, Ms. Ostman has played a key role in developing relationships and business partnerships that will continue to be instrumental during ongoing healthcare transformations. Ms. Ostman, who earned a BS from Cornell University and a MSW from New York University, has extensive management and practice experience developing and delivering behavioral healthcare in various community-based medical settings. Special areas of interest include crisis intervention, integration of medical and behavioral health, value based reimbursement and telehealth. 

“I joined MHA because of its forward-thinking leadership and excellent reputation for high quality behavioral health programs and services. It is a tremendous honor to have been chosen to lead the organization,” said Ms. Ostman. “The current healthcare environment is dynamic, but full of opportunity. I am excited to guide the next chapter of growth and innovation by maximizing the use of data and technology to deliver value based care.”         

We recently sat down with Ms. Ostman to ask her a few questions. Read on to learn more about our new CEO and her insight into the world of behavioral health!

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in mental health?      
A: I liked that the field touches so many aspects of society. For example, social work is done across educational, forensic, child welfare, human service and healthcare settings. I was drawn to the dynamic nature of a career that could offer such diverse opportunities and that would influence quality of life for individuals and the community. 

Q: What interested you about joining MHA?
A: MHA has an outstanding reputation for advocacy and high quality service delivery. I was also impressed with the person-centered values and very forward thinking leadership of the CEO, Amy Kohn.  

Q:  Can you describe some of the most important changes you’ve witnessed in behavioral healthcare over the past few years? 
A: I am very encouraged by the movement toward more integrated care. Behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment are strongly interdependent with physical health. I also believe value based payment that requires measured improvement in health outcomes is going to revolutionize the industry. Only those who provide good care through effective and efficient practices with an emphasis on customer service will be successful.  

Q:  In your opinion, what sets MHA apart in the mental health field?
A: MHA often leads the charge in employing the latest in evidence-based practices in all areas of operation. We also maintain a strong commitment to education and advocacy, helping to raise awareness, remove stigma and encourage prevention.

Q: What do you think are some of MHA’s most unique programs/services/offerings?
A: Our OnTrackNY @ MHA program is a new evidence based model for young people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. It emphasizes strengths and shared decision making between an individual and their treatment team. The focus on collaboration instead of compliance has been proven to increase rate and duration of stabilization. We also have established Professional Learning @ MHA, an increasingly important resource to other healthcare providers, schools and the larger community.

Q: Why do you think MHA is “one of the best places to work in Westchester”?
A: MHA offers family friendly flexibility, ongoing training and abundant support and resources to fulfill responsibilities. I have never experienced such a positive, collegial workplace!  Work/life balance is valued, and attention is paid to professional development at all levels.     

Q: What changes in behavioral health care are you most excited about?
A: I am very enthusiastic about the use of technology in Behavioral Health and the opportunity for innovation that it brings. Our new telemedicine program will improve access in areas where resources are more limited. We are exploring the use of self-monitoring applications and wearables to monitor mood and aid in evaluation. We are currently implementing a new Electronic Health Record that will allow us to better deliver and coordinate care through data collection and information sharing with other providers. This data will also inform our business practices and treatment strategies going forward.