Job Description: Community-based services are at a crossroads. State and local budgets are increasingly restricted, while the demand for services is coming from a widening segment of society. Instead of viewing this situation as an overwhelming challenge, Horizon House chooses to view this situation as an opportunity, an incubator for innovation. We approach this challenge from a position of strength and dedication to the people we serve, and we have a multitude of reasons to be optimistic about the future and our continued growth. Our service area includes:
Philadelphia: home to world-class research institutions and medical facilities, and a supportive local government.
Delaware: on the brink of major systems change in the provision of community-based mental health and substance abuse services.
Lehigh Valley: the challenge of helping individuals transition from residence at Allentown State Hospital to living with supports in the community.
The Metro Counties: pushing to integrate and streamline services, open to new ideas and approaches to community-based services.
We are looking for a Medical Director who is an innovator. A consensus builder. An advocate. An outstanding clinician, mentor and teacher. A creative and effective leader. A person who shares our optimism, who believes that recovery is real, who sees the potential in every individual regardless of disability, and who is prepared to be a leader in the systems-wide transformations of which Horizon House is at the forefront.
Founded in 1952, Horizon House is one of our area’s largest and most well-regarded providers of community-based services to individuals with psychiatric, developmental and/or addictions disabilities, as well as to those who are homeless. We serve a diverse population, and many of our participants have multiple disabilities. We provide comprehensive services to over 4,500 individuals throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and the state of Delaware, with an operating budget of over $60 million. Horizon House employs 13 full time staff psychiatrists and 62 nurses among our 1,000+ employees. Horizon House is a not-for-profit agency, formally affiliated with the Center for Mental Health Policy Services Research (CMHPSR) and the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pennsylvania.
The position of Medical Director was created in 1999 in response to Horizon House’s belief that the needs of the people we serve would be best met by enabling them to build with medical professionals the sort of long term, trusting relationships they benefit from with support staff. For most of the history of community-based services, participants saw only consulting psychiatrists. Horizon House saw that this arrangement was not conducive to true recovery as it perpetuated the prevalent patient-doctor power dynamic, wherein individuals receiving mental health services were not empowered to have a voice in their own treatment plans. Only by involving clinical staff as full members of a holistic treatment team can participants become empowered partners in their recovery process. The lasting relationships developed between participants, doctors, nurses and other team members foster trust, inclusion, and conversations that are strengths-based and goal-oriented. From within this partnership, recovery can truly begin.
Horizon House defines recovery as a unique personal journey that occurs as the result of an internal desire to change. The individual must assume the ultimate responsibility for choosing, changing and achieving personal growth. Horizon House also recognizes the value of a vibrant peer culture in helping people in recovery to establish the support networks so crucial to the recovery process. Recovery is facilitated by relationships and environments that foster hope, empowerment, choices and opportunities that promote people reaching their full potential as individuals and community members. All Horizon House services are designed to promote significant community integration; we assist people in building social capital and support networks, and in establishing (or re-establishing) meaningful, self-defined roles in the community of their choice.
Types of Services:
Horizon House, in partnership with individuals with disabilities and their families, advocates and provides comprehensive, community-based rehabilitative services. We create opportunities for those served to manage their lives through environments that emphasize individual strengths and choice. Around this mission, Horizon House is organized into three main service divisions: Developmental Services, Behavioral Health Services and Homeless Services. The word division, however, is perhaps misleading as movement between our services is fluid, adaptable to the unique needs of the individual, and participants move among them according to their goals and the level of engagement they desire. Horizon House provides a full array of services, including a variety of residential options, assertive community treatment teams, case management, outpatient counseling, resource coordination, person-centered planning, and supported employment and education programs. The Medical Director is based at Horizon House’s primary administrative and program services site, located at 120 South 30th Street in Philadelphia, but travels frequently to other Horizon House sites throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
In this capacity, the Medical Director will have multiple opportunities to be involved in setting the standard of community-based care for the coming decade – not just in our region, but statewide, and potentially on a national level as Horizon House models of service are replicated elsewhere. For example, Horizon House will soon pilot the integration of primary care services within our full-scope behavioral health home by partnering with federally qualified health centers in two locations in order to address the gross health disparities between individuals with serious mental illness and the general population. The Medical Director will also have the opportunity to be involved with the direction of care for individuals living in and/or transitioning from institutional settings to the community, at both the Delaware Psychiatric Center and Allentown State Hospital.
The Medical Director will also serve an important role in developing, implementing and promoting emerging evidence-based best practices. Horizon House is a recognized Center of Excellence for the treatment of co-occurring disorders, as well as for Cognitive Therapy.
Through our partnership with the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Horizon House clinicians were among the first in the nation to be trained in utilizing cognitive therapy techniques with individuals with schizophrenia. Recognizing the prevalence of significant trauma in our participants’ lives, we have worked to have staff trained in the Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (TREM) and are seeking to expand our trauma-informed approaches. Horizon House is a teaching site for the University of Pennsylvania, and the Medical Director plays an important role in maintaining and furthering our relationship with the University’s Department of Psychiatry in other ways as well, by leading the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Community Psychiatry, and in coordinating the Fellowship in Community Psychiatry through the Center.
From our earliest days as a support network for former psychiatric hospital patients, Horizon House services have been driven by the needs and desires of those who come to us for help; we have drawn on and vastly expanded upon this participant-centered philosophy, and so have found the Recovery Transformation a natural fit for our organization’s values. This philosophy is seen most clearly in our team-centered approach to services. The Medical Director must be willing to both embrace and model to other clinical staff the appropriate times to step up as a team leader as well as when to step back and let others – whether staff or participants – lead. Horizon House’s Medical Director must be open to opinions, input and feedback from all team members and from our Participant and Family Advisory Councils as well.
The Position of Medical Director
Through collaboration with participants, staff, peers and funders, the Horizon House Medical Director will help drive the development of the next generation of community-based services. The Medical Director directly supervises all Horizon House medical staff, provides guidance in clinical program development, and collaborates with professional bodies, universities and the provider community. As discussed above, participants’ movement through the service divisions is fluid and needs-driven; necessarily, then, senior management views the development of services and administrative supports as a highly collaborative process, requiring the unique expertise and experience of each management team member. The Medical Director must have the ability to communicate across disciplines and possess a willingness to collaborate with colleagues to continually improve services and to ensure that medical and psychiatric supports are fully integrated in the most effective way possible.
The opportunity to serve as Medical Director of Horizon House is the opportunity to help shape the future of community-based services – for participants, providers and policy-makers alike.