Heather M. Gates, MBA, is the President/CEO of Community Health Resources (CHR), the most comprehensive, nonprofit behavioral health care organization in Connecticut. As CEO, Ms. Gates has increased the geographic, programmatic and fiscal scope of CHR from a budget of $3 million in 1993 to its current budget of more than $50 million. Under her direction, CHR has remained true to its core vision of providing expert mental health and addiction services to people of all ages and has expanded its scope to also provide primary care, supportive housing, therapeutic foster care and a range of other critical services.
Today, CHR provides care to more than 24,000 individuals throughout central and eastern Connecticut with more than 80 unique programs, 32 locations and more than 700 employees. In fact, CHR was recently voted as the region’s “Top Workplace” among large employers and Ms. Gates was named the top leader.
Prior to coming to Connecticut Ms. Gates worked in the Western Massachusetts community service system in a variety of capacities since 1976. Her first role was as a legal advocate representing individual’s rights as well as participating in the oversight of the implementation of the Brewster V. Dukakis Consent Degree. Ms. Gates went on to become the Executive Director of a small supported housing program in Holyoke and later worked for the Department of Mental Health as the Director of Managed Care for the Holyoke/Chicopee Area. In all of these positions Ms. Gates provided leadership for system change and reforms.
As a result of her work in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Ms. Gates emerged as an advocate for a wide range of issues affecting providers and those in need of services. Ms. Gates is a member of the Medicaid Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council and served on the state’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Council. She currently is co-chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Connecticut Nonprofit Alliance and is a member of the Practice Transformation Task Force for the Connecticut SIM.
Ms. Gates received the National Council for Behavioral Health Impact Award for Visionary Leadership in 2013 and in 2015 she was the recipient of the Hartford Business Journal’s Healthcare Heroes Award given to outstanding leaders in the health care industry.
Ms. Gates received her BA from Hampshire College and her MBA from the University of Massachusetts Isenberg School of Management. She lives in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.