Vulnerable communities in Columbus, OH, are experiencing soaring rates of mental health issues, as is true throughout the country. Columbus Public Health currently provides a range of crucial mental health services and is considering additional strategies to expand high-quality care where it is most needed. Mayor Ginther’s administration has prioritized addressing these needs throughout the community. The FUSE Executive Fellow will help assess these opportunities and develop a strategic plan to expand mental health resources for thousands of currently underserved residents.

Fellowship Dates: October 21, 2024 – October 20, 2025

Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

Columbus, OH, like the rest of the country, is experiencing a mental health crisis. In the wake of the pandemic, the city has seen a sharp rise in people experiencing psychological crises, substance-use disorders, and other challenges. Research in Ohio and elsewhere indicates that mental health issues disproportionately impact Black communities and lower-income households. Those same communities often face further obstacles to care, including limited access to transportation, language barriers, the potential stigma of seeking mental health services, and a lack of adequate insurance or financial resources to pay for medications and services.

Columbus Public Health (CPH) is on the frontlines of meeting the healthcare needs of the City’s most vulnerable communities and has launched a range of programs that provide mental health services. Some of these include a program to address postpartum mental health; alternative response services in which social workers accompany police officers ; a neighborhood-based program that addresses social determinants of physical and psychological health on a block-by-block basis; an anti-violence outreach program to divert at-risk youth from interactions with the justice system; and various services to help people struggling from drug- and alcohol-use disorders.

Despite these efforts, there is still a significant gap between the need for mental health services in Columbus and the availability of resources available to address those needs. There is a particularly acute shortage of providers, with wait times of six months or more at many clinics. The City of Columbus is seeking to examine the role that CPH currently plays within the community’s mental health ecosystem and explore ways it might be best positioned to provide high-quality care amid the growing mental health crisis.

The FUSE Executive Fellow will help analyze the extent and nature of the city’s mental health services gap and develop recommendations for expanding and augmenting CPH’s services. With buy-in from various stakeholders, including but not limited to the Alcohol Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Franklin County Public Health, The Ohio State University Talbot Hall Addiction Medicine Residential Unit, Contracted Counselors, and Mount Carmel Hospital System Street Medical Group, the Executive Fellow will help create a comprehensive plan for providing those services. These efforts will continue to build on CPH’s role in meeting the city’s public health needs and addressing critical mental health shortages in communities experiencing the greatest needs.

PROJECT SUMMARY

During the first phase of the project, the FUSE Executive Fellow will connect with numerous stakeholders, including city leaders, hospitals, private-sector healthcare providers, community members, nonprofits, and other organizations responding to mental health issues. The fellow will seek to develop a holistic understanding of the provider landscape and the gaps that vulnerable community members may be experiencing within that system. The fellow will also benchmark innovative roles that public health departments in other cities are currently playing to address mental health.

The Executive Fellow will then conduct a detailed gap analysis to better understand the unmet needs and the communities most affected by those gaps. That analysis will inform recommendations around the potential mental health services that CPH would be well-positioned to provide. The Executive Fellow will develop a business case for expanded mental health services, including structure, staffing, contractors, management, infrastructure, procedure, and financial requirements. The study will also identify potential funding sources, including reimbursements from insurance providers.

The Executive Fellow will work with CPH leadership to evaluate the potential implementation of this plan, expanding existing services and/or piloting new programs. These efforts will be carefully integrated with the complete range of public health roles CPH currently plays in the community. The plans will also ensure that there is no redundancy or competition with existing services in the private market. As a result of this work, CPH will have a roadmap for moving forward to address the Columbus mental health crisis, particularly among the City’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.

PROJECT DELIVERABLES

The FUSE Executive Fellow will provide CPH with a rich analysis, recommendations, and a plan to better address the community’s most critical mental health needs. Specific deliverables will likely include:

  • A gap analysis that assesses community mental health needs, especially in underserved and vulnerable communities, and the relative availability of providers and programs to meet those needs. The study should also assess the degree to which CPH is positioned to effectively fill these gaps with high-quality services.
  • A business case for CPH to expand mental health services comprehensively and strategically. This should include cost and revenue projections and the financial and human impact these services would have in the community.
  • A strategic plan to implement an expansion of CPH’s mental health services. This includes detailing how CPH would organize mental health services throughout existing systems, facilities, and communities.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor: Danius Williams, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Project Supervisor: Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Health Commissioner

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to complex challenges.
  • Respond quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies to support more effective decision-making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE is an equal-opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.