The president and chief executive of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care has been a member of the group’s board of trustees since 2016

Frank A. Ghinassi, president and chief executive of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care and senior vice president of  Behavioral Health Services at RWJBarnabas Health, has been named the 2024 chair of the board of trustees for the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH).

Ghinassi has served as a member of the association – which advocates for behavioral health care and represents provider systems that are committed to the delivery of prevention, treatment and care for individuals of all ages with mental health and substance use disorders – since 1997.

A member of the association’s board of trustees since 2016, he has served as the association’s chair of the Addictions Services Committee and Quality Committee, which examines quality standards for behavioral health.

Ghinassi also served as chair of the Joint Commission Technical Advisory Panel, a public-private initiative that created the seven “Hospital Based Inpatient Psychiatric Services” (HBIPS) that hospitals are required to use for all discharges and episodes of care.

“Frank Ghinassi’s leadership, expertise and experience in the behavioral health care segment is matchless,” said NABH President and CEO Shawn Coughlin. “For decades now, Dr. Ghinassi has brought a wealth of clinical knowledge, business acumen and compassion to every position he has held and every project he has led. The best way I can explain his influence is this: Whenever our team discusses which members could help us develop a new program or resource for our association, the first question everyone typically asks is ‘What about Frank?’”

“Dr. Ghinassi has been on the cutting edge of changing how health care – including behavioral health care – will be delivered in the future,” said Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom, who leads Rutgers Health. “In his new leadership role at the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, he will continue to focus on evidence-based practices – precisely the direction in which health care is moving.”

“As one of the largest behavioral health providers in the country and the largest in the state, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care together with RWJBarnabas Health, has an obligation to influence change through leadership roles at the state and the national level,” Ghinassi said.

Ghinassi’s priorities are to address pressing issues facing providers of behavioral l health care including:

  • Achieving parity for mental health services to ensure health plans cover mental health and substance use disorders no less generously than the way they cover other health issues.
  • Addressing the shortage of behavioral health professionals by advocating for assistance, such as government-subsidized tuition reimbursements.
  • Advocating for the federal government to financially incentivize behavioral health services to onboard electronic health records in the same way it financially incentivized physical health hospitals to onboard electronic health records through the “Meaningful Use” program.

Ghinassi also is a professor at Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Medical School and a member of the core faculty at Rutgers Global Health Institute.

Before joining Rutgers, Ghinassi was the vice president for quality, patient safety, regulatory compliance and health information management at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Shadyside, where he was a member of the executive management team. He also was an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he helped to train psychiatric residents and doctoral psychology interns.