Dear Colleagues,

We’re writing this morning to inform you of several leadership changes at the Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities (DSOHF) and the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS). 


Luckey Welsh, Cherry Hospital CEO, announced yesterday that he will be retiring on December 31, 2018.  Luckey has been a go-to on several important projects through the years and we’re turning to him once again before he wraps-up his state service.  Effective July 1, 2018, he will transition from CEO to a new role as Senior Advisor, and will assist us with several key initiatives – two of which are the move into the new Broughton Hospital and Project Oak.

Dale Armstrong, our deputy secretary that oversees DSOHF and a former psychiatric hospital administrator, has agreed to serve as Interim CEO at Cherry Hospital as of July 1, 2018.  He will begin transitioning into this new role in the coming weeks. 

Helen Wolstenholme, the COO at DSOHF, will serve as the Interim Division Director.  A licensed professional counselor, Helen has previously served as the director of the state ADATCs in additional to also working in community mental health.


Dr. Jason Vogler will be transitioning to a new role within DHHS.  We thank Jason for his work at the Division over the past several years and offer our gratefulness to his steadfast commitment to our consumers and their needs.  We are pleased that he will continue to contribute in a new role at the Murdoch Center.  

Effective today, Kody Kinsley, the Deputy Director and COO, will begin serving as Interim Director. 

We’re also pleased to announce that Carrie Brown, MD, will be joining the division as it’s medical director as of July 1, 2018.  She currently serves as Psychiatrist, Team Physician, and Associate Professor at the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.  Dr. Brown is a board-licensed psychiatrist and previously worked at Central Regional Hospital. 

The recruitment process for the permanent directors will begin within the next week or two.  In the interim, Mark and I have full confidence in Kody, Helen and Dale’s abilities to lead DMH/DD/SAS, DSOHF and Cherry Hospital, respectively.  Many of you have already worked or partnered with them and are aware of their leadership skills. 

We’re also asking them to work with us in addressing some of the challenges highlighted in both our Behavioral Health Strategic Plan and the report conducted by UNC-CH about several of our state facilities – Project Oak.  For our overall behavioral health system this includes:  broadening the pool of North Carolinians who are insured; developing and strengthening community-based services that match existing needs in collaboration with our community partners; integrating behavioral health, I/DD, and physical health services for children and adults; and improving our data infrastructure to drive quality accountability and innovation.  For our psychiatric hospitals and ADATCs this includes:  creating more consistency across the system; reducing our reliance on paper-driven processes; addressing HR and purchasing challenges; and providing coordinated, high-value care through improved partnership with LMEs and other local/regional partners.

Thank you again for all you do to serve the people of North Carolina. 

Secretary Mandy Cohen and Mark Benton, Deputy Secretary for Health Services