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Lindquist to Lead Avera Planning Grant Project to Address Opioid Epidemic

Nov 15, 2018 08:31AM ● By MED Magazine

Avera Health has named former behavioral health assistant Vice President Steve Lindquist as the leader of a new project aimed at combatting the opioid epidemic through a one-year planning grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).

“Steve brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in behavioral health, and he’ll begin his roleimmediately,” said Thomas Otten, Assistant Vice President Avera Behavioral Health Services. “He will organize a broad, region-wide coalition that will develop a robust plan to best meet the crisis.”

Otten replaced Lindquist when he retired in December 2017, and Otten said that as mental health services in South Dakota and the Midwest have transformed over the past four decades, Lindquist played many important roles. He served at the helm of the Avera Behavioral Health Center for nearly 20 years. Previously, Lindquist was director of Mental Health for the State of South Dakota, as well as administrator of the George S. Mickelson Center for the Neurosciences, formerly known as the Human Services Center (HSC) in Yankton.

He was the youngest administrator in the facility’s history, and won a governor’s award for creating the Individualized and Mobile Program of Assertive Community Treatment (IMPACT) program which provided mental health services where patients need them.  

“I enjoyed the privilege of serving the mental health needs of Midwesterners, from changes in legislation to Avera’s development of its Behavioral Health Center in 2006,” said Lindquist. “The crisis we face from opioid abuse and addiction is serious, but with diligent effort and careful approaches, we can find methods to stop it. We can help those in need and hopefully share our successes with other systems and agencies who serve as allies in the fight.”

Lindquist also served on state task forces for managed care, telemedicine and behavioral health. He is a past president of the South Dakota Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

“From private citizens, health care providers and government officials, we all must come together in collaboration and honesty to find approaches that work, and the HRSA funding will help us,” he said. “The challenge is daunting, yet we have dedication and talent, as well as the will to find ways to overcome the obstacles we face.”