Heritage Invests in Additional Clinical Leadership For Peers & Elevate Academies

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Heritage Invests in Additional Clinical Leadership For Peers & Elevate Academies


Heritage is making an enhancement to the management of its Peers and Elevate academies by investing in a second clinical director. That change entails a split that will enrich current programs.

Eugene (Gene) Marshall, director of therapeutic programs, previously oversaw both Heritage academies but will now have a more specific focus as the clinical director for the Elevate Academy. George Ballew will transition from his current role as residential director to clinical director over the Peers Academy.

“I was over the whole clinical program,” Gene said. “I was over Peers and Elevate and also in charge of recreation therapy and equine therapy. Now George will take Peers. Both George and I have a team of rec therapists – there will be two within each academy.”

Keven Downs, executive director, told of a major benefit of this change.

“Whereas the Heritage clinical director used to be responsible for the outcomes of all students at Heritage, they now are responsible for a specific, much smaller population of students and can be involved in the details of their treatment.”

This change has been in the works for many months and will take place May 1.

“This has been in the plans for over a year,” Gene said. “We met as a leadership team last year and this is one of the potential changes we identified. Straight off the bat we wanted the programs to be more specific, to have specific oversight of the programs.”

There won’t be a straight line of division though.

“The majority of therapists will have diverse caseloads,” Gene said. “A lot of therapists like it that way. It keeps them fresh and research shows diverse case loads for therapists is healthy.”

“The reason Heritage feels we need to make this investment is we believe it will increase the individuality of our program and increase the clinical focus and clinical intensity for our students and their families,” said Keven Downs, executive director.

George said he is looking forward to focusing his attention on the Peers Academy.

“It will allow me to dedicate myself to program fidelity and treatment,” he said. “The Peers Academy currently produces great outcomes for students and their families. That being said, we call ourselves a learning organization so we are always looking for ways to improve.”

George gave two reasons why the change will be smooth.

“Gene worked residentially at Heritage for many years and then became a therapist,” he said. “I did the same. We are licensed clinical social workers. We have experience already in multiple disciplines.”

He pointed out that during the past year while George has served as residential director, they’ve been “connected at the hip” – in each other’s offices and meetings.

Keven said the components of the Elevate and Peers Academies have changed the lives of students and families for years.

“This new direction places Heritage at a new level of care,” he said. “Heritage continues to be committed to being a leader in the field of adolescent residential treatment and producing the best outcomes for students and families.”


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