Native Oak Parker announced as new Thrive Counseling Center president and CEO

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By Shawn Gilley

Contributor

Thrive Counseling Center (THRIVE) announced that Nina Allen, LCSW, will become the new president and CEO on September 6, 2011. Allen will be replacing the current president and CEO, Dan Kill, after 37 years of dedicated service to the center. Kill will continue to work part-time from July 1 to September 6.

After over ten years where Allen serves as CEO of South Peninsula Behavioral Health in Homer, Alaska, she will be returning to her Oak Park roots. Allen also serves as the chair of Alaska's State Mental Health Board and Vice-President of the Alaska Behavioral Health Organization.

"It is challenging to replace a long-beloved and well-known leader at any time," said THRIVE Board of Directors Chair, Betsy Ritzman. "But Nina Allen's successful track record in behavioral healthcare, warm spirit and fresh perspective are a perfect fit for Thrive Counseling Center."

Ms. Allen was raised in Oak Park, attended Oak Park River Forest High School, and received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago (Jane Addams College of Social Work). Ms. Allen worked as a social worker for West Suburban Hospital, followed by Director of Outpatient Services at PCC Community Wellness Center, and Director of Behavioral Science at West Suburban Health Care in Oak Park before accepting a position at Norton Sound Health Corporation in Nome, Alaska in 2002. While Ms. Allen has garnered numerous accolades throughout her career, she is most proud of being the first non-native person to win the "Cultural Sensitivity and Respect for Traditional Values Award" as a result of the work she accomplished while serving the people of Nome.

"Nina Allen is the perfect person to lead a center that provides comprehensive mental health services for a diverse and progressive community," said Tim Hardwicke, THRIVE board member and Chair of the CEO Search Committee. "In Alaska, she renegotiated reimbursement rates with the State of Alaska and was very successful in providing expanded services that fit the unique needs of the population. We look forward to her energy and focus as we guide Thrive Counseling Center through the difficult issues we face in the State of Illinois."

"Nina Allen has an outstanding record of effectively delivering high quality and culturally sensitive behavioral health care," said Ritzman. "We are quite fortunate to have such a qualified and recognized leader step to the helm at Thrive Counseling Center."

Thrive Counseling Center (120 S. Marion Street in Oak Park, IL) provides counseling for individuals, couples, and families. The center also offers psychiatric and medication management services, 24-hour crisis services, case management services, in-home counseling for older adults, and integrated primary care. The center serves more than 1,200 youth each year through youth counseling, assistance for runaway or locked-out teens, juvenile diversion services, prevention education, and counselors on-site at Oak Park River Forest High School. For more information about services, please call 708-383-7500 or visit www.ThriveCC.org.

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