Buckelew Programs names Chris Kughn CEO for North Bay behavioral health nonprofit

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Buckelew Programs has a new CEO as the nonprofit that focuses on behavioral health in five North Bay counties revamps its internal operations.

Longtime mental health care leader Chris Kughn is set to join May 20, succeeding Tamara Player, who has been the top executive since 2016, the organization announced April 29.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to lead Buckelew into its next chapter,” Kughn in the news release. “We have passionate, veteran staff members who are committed to providing the best behavioral health services possible to those in need who live in our local communities. We are lucky to have caring and loyal donors and an experienced Board of Directors. I look forward to building on the foundation that Tamara established for Buckelew.”

Most recently, Kughn was executive director for Caminar Inc., which has programs in Solano and Butte counties, Buckelew said. He is said to have experience in building strong partnerships with stakeholders through transparency, trust and collaboration, and extensive experience in systems change to address service needs and evolving funding streams.

Before Caminar, Kughn was division director of adult and older adult services, among other management positions in behavioral health, with Marin County Department of Health and Human Services. His passion for this work began as a licensed therapist serving adults, children and families in the juvenile justice, crisis stabilization and adult homeless systems.

“His prior experiences have positioned him well to continue to strengthen Buckelew’s existing services and to expand the scope and scale of the services provided, Chris has managed a large, behavioral health care organization, he has experience in multiple counties in the North Bay, and has experience implementing the electronic health record system that Buckelew is about to deploy,” said Stan Moore, board chairman. “We are sorry to see Tamara leave, but we feel fortune to have benefited from her many contributions to Buckelew during the time she served as CEO. The organization is well positioned for its next stage of development with Chris at the helm.”

Player has accepted a position as the CEO of West Yavapai Guidance Clinic in Prescott, Arizona, where she will move with her husband, Todd, according to Buckelew.

Part of changes to the organization’s operations is a recent move of all office-based services in Marin County to 201 Alameda Del Prado. With a client centric focus, the new Novato office expands services into northern Marin and allows for better access using public transportation. The new office location is consistent with our values of serving in the best interest of our clients while coordinating care in an efficient and effective manner.

Buckelew Programs (www.buckelew.org) helps people in Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties with mental health, addiction and related behavioral health challenges lead more independent lives, strengthening families and communities in the process. It was founded in 1970, when it opened Marin County’s first 24-hour residential mental health treatment facility. Today, it serves nearly 10,000 clients each year.

Services for adults and children include supported housing and job training, outpatient psychotherapy, residential detoxification, and a regional suicide prevention program.

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