Forty Under Forty: Danika Mills

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Danika Mills

Executive Director

Coordinated Behavioral Care and Coordinated Behavioral Care IPA


BE A LIFELONG LEARNER

Fast fact: Tweet her @danika_mills and @DanikaCBC


Danika Mills is a licensed clinical social worker and art therapist with leadership and clinical experience in hospitals, schools, shelters, and nonprofits who uses collaborative care approaches that integrate health information technology solutions to drive improvement in health outcomes. She is the Executive Director of Coordinated Behavioral Care, Inc., a nonprofit that operates a health home serving over 25,000 New Yorkers; an Office of Mental Health-funded care transitions program and a health coaching program. She is also the Executive Director of the Coordinated Behavioral Care Independent Practice Association. Before CBC, she directed a New York State Chronic Illness Demonstration Project that piloted care coordination for Medicaid recipients with complex disorders, led a SAMHSA project in two shelters that successfully engaged chronically homeless women and men in services using evidence-based practices, published work using Critical Time Intervention and Seeking Safety and won a SAMHSA Science to Service Award. She is also a proud mom of three.

 

NYN: HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?

DM: I became interested after experiencing the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. I was all set to be a chemical engineer and I was going to minor in art. After living in Oklahoma City during that time I saw how important community service and community work was in rebuilding communities, and that was a very harsh reality.

 

NYN: DESCRIBE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF.

DM: I couldn’t have done my life’s work without my family, my partner and my three kids. Of all of the work that I have done, I am most proud of the programs that I have been able to start from scratch and the children that are in my family.

 

NYN: WHAT CHANGE WOULD MOST HELP THE INDIVIDUALS YOUR ORGANIZATION SERVES?

DM: Both community work and the health care sector treat either behavioral needs or medical needs, and I really believe that an integrated approach in which understanding a person’s natural support system, their social determinants of health, and also the impact that poverty, racism, and oppression have on a person’s health care, will affect the field that I’m in.

 

NYN: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU RETIRE?

DM: I consider myself a lifelong learner. I do think that I will continue to attend conferences and seminars on both areas that I am in, but think that all human service and social service professionals need to explore areas that we don’t typically get additional training in, like business and health information technologies. What I would like to do before I retire is ensure that I kept up with the philosophy of being a lifelong learner, and remained open to opportunities to both advance my own career and make sure I continue on a path of social change.

 

NYN: WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB?

DM: The job that I had three years ago is not the job I have now, and I don’t expect it to be the job that I will have three years from now. In our field, we need to be able to be nimble, and serve and lead programs based on the needs of the community. We need to refine our business and understanding of the way health care is delivered to be able to positively impact it.

 

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