Movers & Shakers: Spring Health Hires Amazon Alum; New CEOs at MHA, Right Track

The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative hire VP of community engagement

The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative, two recently merged eating disorder treatment programs, have hired a vice president of community engagement.

Chase Bannister — an eating disorders clinician, speaker and advocate — stepped into the new role on June 14. Most recently, he worked as a health care policy advisor at his firm Bannister Consultancy LLC. Before that, he served as a founder, senior vice president and chief strategy and clinical integrity officer at Veritas, which merged with The Emily Program in March.

“As a founder of Veritas Collaborative, Chase is uniquely positioned to serve as a bridge builder as we continue to integrate the best practices of our two organizations,” Dave Willcutts, CEO of The Emily Program and of the merged company, said in a press release announcing the news.


Together, The Emily Program and Veritas have 20 eating disorder treatment locations across Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia,and Washington. The combined company offers various kinds of outpatient, inpatient and residential programming, in addition to intensive outpatient programming (IOP) and partial hospital programs (PHP).  

Mental Health America names new leader

Mental Health America (MHA) has a new president and CEO in Schroeder Stribling, who was appointed by the nonprofit’s board earlier this month. She will step into the role June 28.

MHA is a community-based nonprofit focused on helping those with mental illnesses and promoting mental health overall.


Stribling beat out more than 200 candidates for the role over a six-month search process. She comes to the position after serving 18 years at N Street Village, a nonprofit that offers housing support to homeless women and families in Washington, D.C. Most recently, she served as the organization’s CEO. 

Spring Health fills new CTO position

Spring Health has hired an Amazon Web Services (AWS) alum to fill its newly created role of chief technology officer.

Harshit Shah — who has 20 years of software engineering experience — stepped into the position Thursday. Most recently, he served as head of engineering at AWS.

In his new role, Shah will be responsible for overseeing software engineering, information security and information technology. The goal is to help Spring Health continue to leverage technology for long-term differentiation, as well as to reduce barriers to mental health treatment.

Headquartered in New York, Spring Health helps employers connect their workers to behavioral health services such as coaching, therapy and medication services. In September, the fast-growing company announced $76 million in a Series B funding round, pushing its total funding raised past $105 million, according to the fundraising tracking website Crunchbase.

Kipu taps new CEO, COO

Kipu — which provides enterprise software and cloud-based tech to SUD, mental health and eating disorder treatment providers — has named a new CEO and COO.

The company has hired Paul Joiner for the CEO role, while tapping Rick Pharr for the COO position. Both men have years of experience running large health care tech companies.

Joiner comes to the job from Availity, a healthcare information technology network that boasts several large payer and provider clients. There, he served as COO. Meanwhile, Pharr most recently served as SVP of operations at WebPT, a provider of EMR and business management solutions for various therapy markets. 

The company unveiled the new hires at the same time it announced a new strategic investment from the growth equity firm TCV. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

Talkspace adds new CMO

Talkspace has tapped Varun Choudhary — the former Chief Medical Officer of behavioral health at Magellan Health — as its new CMO.

Headquartered in New York City, Talkspace remotely connects users to licensed therapists through text and video chats. It provides services directly to consumers, as well as through company-sponsored health plans, with in-network access to Talkspace currently available to more than 55 million people.

Choudhary joins the company during a period of expansion. In the first quarter of 2021, Talkspace’s number of active members increased more than 110% year-over-year, to about 60,000. Plus, it’s currently in the process of going public by way of a $1.4 billion deal with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Hudson Executive Investment Corporation (HEIC).

A board-certified forensic psychiatrist with 17 years of care experience, Choudhary will help scale the company’s clinical practice and network of about 3,000 psychotherapists and prescribers nationwide.

Hazelden Betty Ford hires new director for youth services

Hazelden Betty Ford — the nation’s largest nonprofit substance use disorder (SUD) treatment provider — has hired a new medical director for its national youth continuum.

Sara Polley, a physician and psychiatrist, has stepped into the role to head up Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s national substance use and mental health treatment center for adolescents and young adults.

For the past six years, Polley has been the director of dual diagnosis services at PrairieCare Medical Group in Brooklyn Park, Minn. In her new role, she succeeds Joseph Lee, who was promoted to president and CEO, effective June 28. 

Headquartered in Center City, Minnesota, Hazelden Betty Ford has nearly 20 locations, in addition to a slew of divisions focused on addiction education, research, publishing and other areas. It offers inpatient and outpatient care for SUD patients of various ages, and it partners with insurance companies to make treatment affordable.

Owl Insights rebrands, expands leadership team

Owl Insights — a provider of precision care management technology for behavioral health providers — has unveiled a new name, new brand and three new senior executives.

Now called Owl Health, the company’s new hires include:

  • Doug Keyes as vice president of sales
  • Paige Mantel as vice president of marketing
  • And Justin Witkowski as vice president of program management

Each new executive has between 20 and 30 years of experience in his or her respective field.

Owl said the new hires and the rebranding were fueled by significant business growth amid the pandemic. 

“Our new look and feel represents who we are as an organization, our commitment to the behavioral health community and where we plan to go in the future,” Eric Meier, president and chief executive officer for Owl, said in a press release announcing the news. “I am also thrilled to expand our executive team with these three strategic hires. Paige, Doug and Justin bring seasoned leadership, deep healthcare expertise and a strong sense of purpose as we continue on this growth trajectory. As we look to our future, I am truly excited about the impact we will have for both our provider customers and their patients.”

Ehave names news CMO

Ehave, Inc. — which provides digital therapeutics for the psychedelic and mental health sectors — has named Jeffrey D. Kamlet as its new CMO.

He brings more than 30 years of internal medicine, addiction medicine, pain management and psychedelic research experience to the role.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Kamlet to Ehave as our Chief Medical Officer during this exciting time where he will serve in a mission-critical role as we advance our clinical study services on the effects of I.V. Ketamine treatments on anxiety, depression and PTSD using brain mapping technology,” Ehave CEO Ben Kaplan said in a press release announcing the news.

Right Track Health hires new CEO

Right Track Medical Group — a Mississippi-based outpatient mental health provider — has named Trace Swartzfager as its CEO.

He brings more than 30 years of behavioral health administration experience to the position. Most recently, he served as vice president of business development and behavioral health services at St. Dominic’s in Jackson, Mississippi.

Right Track offers an outpatient, physician-led approach to mental health conditions. It has locations in Biloxi, Columbus, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Madison, Meridian, Olive Branch, Oxford, Starkville and Tupelo. Additionally, it has a location outside of Mississippi in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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