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Douglas County Mental Health executive director settles into new role

By Kayleigh Rahn
Douglas County Mental has undergone a smooth transition as the new executive director has settled her role.

Executive director Jan Aten retired at the close of February, and Lauren Christina, who more than two years ago became clinical director, has now taken on her new role as executive director.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity and hope to continue on with our success,” she said from her office last month. “I was here as an intern when Carol (Francisco-Davis) was here and had the opportunity to work with (Aten). Both moved the agency so far forward in their times here that I hope I can do the same with the agency with my time here.”

Christina says the staff was prepared for the leadership transition and moving into the lead role after working as clinical director made for a smooth transition filled with familiar faces.

“Jan and I worked really well together as a team, and we were told before, so as the transition happened it was very smooth,” she said. “There weren’t a lot of hiccups and since I was the clinical director I had contact with a lot of people any way so I wasn’t a completely new face to be introduced to the agency.”

The clinic has future plans to adjust others’ roles, but for now Christina will maintain her clinical responsibilities. However, the facility has welcomed a new licensed clinical professional counselor that will lighten the workload for the staff.

“I think this opens up access to additional services,” Christina explained. “Before we were actually short staffed, so you would have longer wait times between counselors. Our counselors seemed overloaded, so with the addition we are able to shift some people around and have him see all the newer people coming in. Appointment times are quicker, and it frees up our counselors to provide more time focusing on the services for their clients.”

Christina says the last year has afforded the clinic various opportunities to educate the community and to talk about their expertise in the field, including an anti-bullying workshop for Tuscola Citizens Against Bullying.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, April 4 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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