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Stairways Names New Executive Director

Monday, January 26, 2015

Erie, PA  – The Stairways Behavioral Health Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Valerie Vicari will serve as the organization’s new Executive Director. Vicari will assume leadership of the community mental health care provider in early February, 2015.

“Valerie brings to Stairways a distinguished career leading and managing behavioral health programs,” said Dr. Kristine Nelson, Stairways Behavioral Health Board President. “We are confident that Valerie will help move our organization forward, as well as focus on client needs first and foremost.”

Vicari has served in progressive leadership roles for 15 years with the PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), including her most recent position as Director of the Division of Western Operations, with oversight of mental health programs in 46 counties across Western and Central Pennsylvania.

Vicari has been a leader in the implementation and management of the Pennsylvania Medicaid managed care program, HealthChoices. She has been instrumental in the development and statewide expansion of evidence based practices such as the Assertive Community Teams and Certified Peer Specialist programs.  

Vicari’s broad experience in federal and commonwealth health care reform initiatives will help keep Stairways properly positioned in a rapidly changing health care landscape.

“I believe individuals with behavioral health diagnosis can and should live in the community of their choice, with the very best treatment services wrapped around them,” said Vicari. “This can only happen when financially sustainable organizations, like Stairways, are rooted in best practices, and have clear expectations and outcomes to support their programs.”

Vicari received her undergraduate education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Masters degree at Carlow College, Pittsburgh, Pa., in Professional Leadership for Management, Non-Profit Concentration.

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