Movers & Shakers: Biden Selects Head of ONDCP; C-Suite Hires for Aptihealth, EastRidge

Biden Picks ONDCP Head

The Biden Administration has officially chosen its new top drug policy official, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

Rahul Gupta — the former West Virginia public health commissioner who most recently served as chief medical officer at the March of Dime — has been tapped for the position. If confirmed, he will be the first physician to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

In a public policy announcement, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) lauded Gupta’s appointment, pointing to his data-driven approach to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and identification in West Virginia as an asset to the nation.


“While Gupta will need confirmation by the United States Senate, he will take on the drug czar post at a critical time,” NAATP Director of Public Policy Mark Dunn said in the update. “The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to record levels of deadly drug overdoses, spurred by surging use of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl and methamphetamine. We are pleased that in our discussions Dr. Gupta clearly understands that alcohol is still the largest cause of SUD related health issues and deaths.”

Aptihealth hires first chief psychiatrist

Aptihealth — a behavioral health telemedicine startup — has hired its first chief psychiatric officer.

Kevin Martin comes to the position after spending more than 20 years as the chief medical officer of Four Winds Saratoga psychiatric hospital. He has more than 30 years of experience as a child and adult psychiatrist.


Founded in Boston in 2017, Aptihealth partners with health plans and systems to provide personalized, comprehensive behavioral health care for all acuity levels. In announcing Martin’s hire, the startup also announced that it is planning to add services for younger patients.

National Council adds new board member

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing has added a new member to its board.

Jeremy Klemanski — president and CEO of Helio Health — has been elected to represent New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The National Council is a trade group that represents nearly 3,500 mental health and SUD treatment organizations, the majority of whom serve the under- and uninsured. Meanwhile, Helio Health offers behavioral health services across the continuum of care out of various locations across New York state. It has a total of 1,345 beds.

EastRidge Health Systems taps new CEO

EastRidge Health Systems — a comprehensive behavioral health center in West Virginia — has hired a new CEO. The company’s board of directors selected Rita Quinn to fill the role after a nationwide search.

Founded in 1970, EastRidge treats patients with mental health conditions, SUDs and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Specifically, it serves those in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

Its comprehensive list of service offerings include outpatient therapy, medication prescribing, medication management and transitional residential services for people with mental health conditions, as well as SUD therapy, DUI safety, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with suboxone and intensive outpatient programming (IOP) for SUD. On the IDD front, it offers supported employment, day treatment programs, family support services, residential nursing and respite care.

Quinn has been part of EastRidge’s senior management team for the past 14 years. Since 2008, she has served as the company’s vice president of mental health and substance abuse disorders.

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