CareSouth Carolina announces changes to Behavioral Health Leadership

February 23rd 2022

CareSouth Carolina announces two new changes to its leadership team.

Amy Cook, LISW-CP/S, who was previously the Assistant Director of Behavioral Health, has stepped into the role of Director of Behavioral Health. Robin Hope Gibson, LPC, LPCS has stepped into the role of Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor.

Cook has been a part of CareSouth Carolina for 16 years and dedicated the last 4 years to the role of Assistant Director of Behavioral Health.  She will be taking over for Liz Kershner, LISW-APCP, who served at CareSouth Carolina for 29 years.

 “Liz Kershner built this program from the ground up and implemented the model of Integrated Behavioral Health Care,” Cook said. “It’s a special collaboration between the Medical and Behavioral Health Care Providers where we are able to provide services that treat the “whole person”, in one setting to improve the health and wellbeing of every patient.  Liz did a phenomenal job in leading the Behavioral Health Department.  She taught me everything I know and I have grown professionally and personally because of her.”

Under Kershner’s leadership, CareSouth Carolina was one of the first community health centers in the nation to begin screening for clinical depression, just like a vital sign, and having behavioral health counselors in every office allowed the organization to provide complete care to its patients.

Now, The CareSouth Carolina Behavioral Health Department consist of 16 licensed Behavioral Health Providers, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, Behavioral Health Case Manager, and a Behavioral Health Program Manager.  The Behavioral health counselors provides services in each of the CareSouth Carolina medical offices and school-based counseling services to 11 schools within our service area.  In addition, the Medication-Assisted Treatment Program (MAT) was started a little more than a half-decade ago.  The MAT Program provides services to individuals who suffer from Substance Use Disorders/Opioid Use Disorders.  It is the largest in the state among federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs).

Cook said that her primary goal moving forward is to maintain the quality and integrity of the Behavioral Health Program that was started by Kershner.  She will continue to ensure that each patient at CareSouth Carolina receives evidenced-based quality care and looks forward to building upon the strong foundation that has already been set.

“As we move forward, we are going to focus on continuing this legacy that Liz built,” Cook said.  “We will continue to utilize evidence-based practices to meet the needs of our patients.  We will focus on expanding school-based counseling in our service area to improve the health and wellbeing of our children and adolescents.  We will focus on decreasing the stigmatization of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders through educating our communities, patients, and their families.  My goal is to be a great leader to this amazing Behavioral Health team and to move this program forward as we ensure quality care to all our patients.”  

Gibson, who has served at CareSouth Carolina for 11 years and has more than 20 years of experience as a counselor, will step into the role of Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor. In this role, she will look to identify opportunities for improvement, provide feedback for educational purposes, provide clinical supervision/guidance, and support to the Behavioral Health Staff.  She will give support to Cook in continuing to build the program.

“We want to maintain this amazing department that Liz has built and continue further growth,” Gibson said. “We’ll continue to look for ways to offer more evidence-based services to patients, decrease barriers to treatment, and enhance our existing programs.”

Cook said that Gibson has been innovative in her approach to engaging counselors and providing both guidance and education before she was ever even offered the role.

“Robin and I have a strong working relationship and I have confidence that she and I will build a strong partnership that will help to move this program forward.” Cook said.

CareSouth Carolina is a private, non-profit community health center delivering patient-centered health and life services in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. CareSouth Carolina operates centers in Bennettsville, Bishopville, Cheraw, Chesterfield, Dillon, Hartsville, Lake View, Latta, McColl and Society Hill. Services provided by CareSouth Carolina include family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, women services, OB/GYN, HIV/AIDS primary care, dental, chiropractic services, pharmacy, geriatrics, social services, clinical counseling, laboratory, 4D ultrasound, X-Ray, migrant services and veterans’ choice provider. 

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