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Workforce Advocate, Geoffrey Vercauteren, to be honored at Mental Health Benefit

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The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester (MHCGM) is pleased to announce Geoffrey “Geoff” Vercauteren as the 2023 recipient of the annual Wheelock-Nardi Advocacy Award.

Advocacy comes in many forms based upon the current needs within a community and as healthcare providers in New England recognize, “workforce development” is the paramount challenge facing mental health care today.  Over the past six years, Geoff has provided local, regional, and statewide leadership to address many of these workforce challenges.

In the fall of 2017, Geoff joined efforts to create an integrated delivery network (IDN) of care providers in the Greater Manchester/Salem/Derry area.  This network, known as Network4Health, was one of seven created statewide as part of the NH 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver.  In his role as the Workforce Development Director, Geoff provided leadership to enhance behavioral healthcare workforce needs across our network as well as across all of the regionally based IDNs.

Some of the successes attributed to Geoff’s efforts include a new psychiatric prescriber recruitment and retention initiative; scholarships for community-based workforce training/certification programs for community health workers, medical interpreters, and certified recovery support workers; and the creation of more than 230 scholarships for individuals pursuing behavioral health-related careers at Granite State College, Manchester Community College and UNH (427 awards, totaling $645,000).

In addition, Geoff also coordinated with national training providers of evidence-based and best practices to offer programs both in-state as well as virtually. He also worked to develop multiple leadership training programs aimed at the needs of both new and senior leaders.  These included training programs in the “Fundamentals of Management”, “Fundamentals of Leadership, and the “Essentials of Project Management” as well as a “Senior Leadership Development” program.

As a result of Geoff’s leadership, the N4H Workforce Development project was acclaimed for its strategic approach to the enhancement of the healthcare workforce.  Success was derived directly from Geoff’s knowledge and experience with workforce development as well as his pragmatic approach to problem-solving and, most importantly, his exceptional interpersonal skills in bringing multiple stakeholders together to formulate effective responses to our local challenges.

Geoff is currently the Director of Workforce Development at Network4Health/Catholic Medical Center.  His work is focused on increasing the pipeline of professionals entering the field; providing access to professional development opportunities to create a competent and confident workforce; encouraging the educational advancement of incumbent workers and implementing retention strategies to increase engagement and decrease turnover among partner members within the region. The network consists of 40 healthcare, behavioral health, and human services employers across 18 cities and towns around the greater Manchester, Salem, and Derry areas.

For 24 years, The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester has hosted an annual ‘Benefit for Mental Health” that helps the organization maintain underfunded programs and services offered each day to children, teens, and adults. Each year, the Wheelock-Nardi Advocacy Award is presented by MHCGM to an individual or organization that exemplifies a high standard of commitment and advocacy for those with mental illness.  The award is named in honor of former NH Hospital Superintendent Major Wheelock and former State Representative Theodora Nardi. The pair co-authored the 1982 Wheelock-Nardi Report, which became the blueprint for the shift from an institutional to a community-based system of behavioral healthcare in New Hampshire.

The Mental Health Benefit will be held on Monday, October 23 at Derryfield Country Club. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, click here.


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