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2020 Health Care Champions Administrator: Dustin Brown

Burrell Behavioral Health

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Much like his title as Burrell Behavioral Health’s vice president of integration indicates, Dustin Brown is a connector and collaborator in the health care field.

Brown regularly helps develop unique ways for people in other health systems, college campuses and community agencies to receive mental health care as part of a comprehensive treatment plan with their medical providers. That creates better pathways for more acute behavioral health care, he says.

“Access to quality mental health care should occur exactly where and when it is needed for an individual,” he says. “My teams of behavioral health consultants strive to become an ingrained member of their respective medical groups, helping their colleagues understand the complete utility of mental health care and seamlessly interacting with those they serve as just another part of their routine visit.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology at Missouri State University in 2004, Brown received a master’s degree in clinical psychology at The School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute in 2010. Two years later, he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Forest Institute.

Since Brown arrived at Burrell in 2018, the health center has expanded its integration efforts with community partners. He’s helped place behavioral health consultants and providers in 12 new locations, such as CoxHealth, Mercy Springfield Communities and Jordan Valley Community Health Center. As a result, the clinicians have aided nearly 10,000 people.

Brown says the only way to increase access to behavioral health care when embedding providers in other settings is to ensure the teams they join have a thorough understanding of mental health.

“I want each of our providers to educate doctors, nurses, support staff, their clients – anyone with whom they come in contact – about how behavioral health influences everyone’s complete well-being,” he says.

Brown’s operational oversight includes Burrell’s rapid access unit that opened in May at its Park Center facility. The walk-in clinic, open 24/7, serves as a crisis point for those needing immediate psychiatric care, opioid abuse treatment and intake for behavioral health services.

Adam Andreassen, chief operating officer at Burrell, says Brown’s leadership style is simultaneously encouraging yet firm.

“Dr. Brown’s dynamic but steady leadership has endeared him to many community partners who now trust him to lead our shared initiative around the behavioral crisis center and so many other care pathways that did not exist before his arrival,” Andreassen says.

Beyond his own professional goals, Brown dedicates time to grow the next generation of behavioral health professionals as regional training director of the National Psychology Training Consortium. It’s among the largest doctoral internship programs for psychologists in the United States, he says.

“NPTC was founded as a way to increase access to behavioral health care in rural and underserved areas,” Brown says. “My work with NPTC interns not only places more providers in these regions, it allows me to mentor trainees in best practice and readiness for their future careers in client care.”

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