“In situations of stress and challenge to really look at what’s important, and what do we all jointly value?,” Dr. Kerri Hecox says, “and I think what we value in this community is the health and safety of our children.”
Interim executive director Dr. Kerri Hecox says creating a strong substance abuse treatment program is the best way to protect kids, and that’s what she aims to do.
“If we do not have those placements children go into foster care,” Dr. Hecox says, “and that’s something none of us want to see.”
The family physician currently works at La Clinica, but will be winding down her practice over the next month. She will eventually become OnTrack’s full-time medical director. That position is one of many that will now be weighing in at the top, as Hecox looks to create a leadership team from here on out.
“Because really it is such a large organization,” Dr. Hecox says, “it’s something that can’t be held just by one person. We need a strong leadership team, to address all of the issues we need to address. ”
She says facilities will be her top priority, addressing the serious and widespread safety and maintenance concerns brought forward by DHS. She says agencies like United Way, Southern Oregon Pediatrics, and the Family Nurturing Center will be providing input along the way.
And while she admits her biggest challenge is going to be bringing the community together, she is hopeful it’s something she can accomplish at the helm.
“Having people take a step back from the concerns that they’ve had and refocus and say what do we need to do to help these vulnerable families and give these kids the best shot that they have?”
Dr. Hecox is assuming the role of executive director until a permanent replacement is found. She could not comment on the current negotiations between Dr. Rita Sullivan and the OnTrack board, but says she highly respects the hard work and vision Sullivan put into the program, and says it is vital to continue it.
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