Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer of Wheeler Clinic, received the Connecticut Center for Primary Care (CCPC) 2014 Primary Care Leadership Award for demonstrating exceptional leadership in primary care. She was among three recipients honored on November 20 during CCPC’s 7th Annual Primary Care Summit, “Evolving Care Models: Collaboration, Co-management, Continuity” at The Sheraton Hartford South, Rocky Hill.
“Susan and her organization have demonstrated an outstanding ability to navigate the dynamic shifts in today’s health care environment and leverage the value of integrated care to serve the complex needs of consumers and the communities statewide,” said Jonathan Rosen, MD, chairman, Connecticut Center for Primary Care, and vice chairman, ProHealth Physicians.
“We’re pleased to be recognized for Wheeler’s leadership in providing accessible integrated primary and behavioral health care,” said Walkama. “This honor reflects our steadfast commitment to build health equity through a systemic approach to whole-person health.”
Most recently,under Walkama’s leadership:
- Wheeler became the only non‐hospital partner in the ACCESS‐MH CT (Access to all of Connecticut’s Children of Every Socioeconomic Status ‐ Mental Health Connecticut) program, providing consultative psychiatry services to pediatric and family physician primary care practices across one‐third of the state.
- Wheeler opened two Health and Wellness Centers in Bristol and Hartford in 2013. Each offers primary and behavioral health care, linkage to dental and specialty providers, access to pharmacy services, engagement, care management and recovery and wellness services.
Wheeler has co‐located behavioral health clinicians at Pediatric Associates of Bristol since 2001, providing triage, assessment, consultation and care for children from birth to age 18.
- Walkama spearheaded formal collaborations with ProHealth Physicians to develop a behavioral health program in the model of the patient-centered medical home. This improves access to care for pediatric patients and providers, and improves coordination and communication between pediatric and behavioral health providers.
The other CCPC 2014 Primary Care Leadership Awardees recognized on November 20 were Jennifer Vorhees, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, and C. Todd Staub, MD, FACP, board chairman of ProHealth Physicians.
The Connecticut Center for Primary Care
The Connecticut Center for Primary Care (CCPC) was founded in 2002 by ProHealth Physicians as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. CCPC studies models of care, including care coordination, quality improvement, patient safety, and disease-specific research on children’s health, senior health, and chronic diseases.
Wheeler Clinic, founded in 1968, is an independent, not-for-profit, community-based organization that provides a comprehensive continuum of mental health and substance abuse recovery services, primary care, child welfare, special education, early childhood, community justice, foster care, employee assistance and prevention and wellness programs. The organization serves more than 30,000 children, adolescents and adults in Connecticut each year. Learn more: www.wheelerclinic.org.