Ken Bates, the CEO of Worcester nonprofit Open Sky Community Services, has been named the new chair of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, a statewide nonprofit organization representing 81 community-based behavioral healthcare providers.
Bates succeeds Bruce Bird, CEO of Cambridge nonprofit Vinfen Corp., as chair of ABH, which is based in Natick. Bates’ responsibilities include advocating for solutions to improve and expand access to mental health care and help lead ABH and the profession at a period when behavioral health needs are exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m grateful to the entire ABH board for electing me chair and putting their trust in me,” said Bates in press release Wednesday. “Community-based behavioral health providers in the commonwealth are facing difficult challenges – the effects of the pandemic that include surging demand for services among individuals and families and an unprecedented workforce crisis – and ABH is the leading voice in working with public and private partners to address them.”
In addition to the new board leadership, two provider executives from Central Massachusetts were elected to the board: Beth Barto, CEO of Fitchburg-based LUK Inc., and Susan Gentili, CEO of the South Middlesex Opportunity Council in Framingham.