Ten Questions with dianna Huddleston

Huddleston dianna 2014Tell me a little about yourself – your background and your education.

I am a licensed clinical social worker.  I did my undergraduate work in social work at Ball State University, and my Masters in Social Work at Indiana University, on the IUPUI Campus in Indianapolis.  I have worked in the mental health field for over 20 years.  I have worked in residential, inpatient, outpatient, and community settings.  My focus has always been with children and families.  Before finding my way to the mental health field I worked with The Salvation Army, The Girl Scouts, and Lafayette Urban Ministries.

How long have you worked for Aspire?

As of July 6th, I will have been working with Aspire Indiana for three months.

What positions have you held with Aspire?

I was hired as the Director of Outpatient Services for the Carmel office.

Describe your current position, including your responsibilities?

As a Director of Outpatient Services, I am responsible for the programs and staff within my service area.  I have eight direct reports.  The traditional outpatient programs and services at our Carmel location include: individual and group therapies for children and adults, addiction services, psychological services, and medication management.  In addition, the Carmel location also houses the PASRR (Pre-admission Screening and Resident Review) Program and the two staff providing assessments for older adults at 47 different nursing homesUnder state and federal law, PASSR applies to individuals who are: (1) being considered for admission to a nursing facility, or (2) are already residents of a nursing facility and have a significant change in their physical or mental condition. Lastly, Aspire Indiana’s Crisis Department runs out of the Carmel location.  The manager of the Crisis Department and her three full-time staff members assist consumers of Aspire services and community members.  Aspire staff members manage the mental health crises of consumers 24 hours a day.

Also, as a Director of Outpatient Services, I represent Aspire Indiana on several committees and boards in Hamilton County, acting as the mental health representative.

What does a typical day as Director of Outpatient Services look like? 

Every day is different, which makes life interesting.  I run a weekly administrative and clinical staff meeting.  I have weekly or by-weekly clinical supervision with staff members.  I attend Aspire management meetings and community meetings.  I respond to emails and phone calls.  Taking care of building and consumer needs also plays a large part in my day.  I see my overall role as making processes and systems run smoothly so that clinicians can focus on providing strong clinical care to our consumers.

What in your educational background and work experience prepared you for your current position?

In graduate school, I focused on management and planning of agencies and programs.  I have held management and supervisory roles in all of my employment positions.  I like developing young staff, mentoring new staff, and bringing out the best work in seasoned staff.  I like taking professionals to the next great level of their chosen trade.  I like solving problems.  I like looking at the big picture of services and community needs and finding the best way for processes to work for staff and consumers.  The programs and people that I have developed in the past have led to the collected knowledge I bring to this position, plus I learn something new every day!

If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?

If I weren’t in management in the mental health field, I would like to try my hand at management in the corporate world.  I think it would be interesting to bring my mental health knowledge and management tools to the for-profit world.

What is it that drew you to the field of mental health?

I was drawn first to working with children and families.  Mental health allowed me to work with the entire family as a unit.  As the relationships that the industry of mental health has cultivated over the years with schools and other social services agencies has grown, that philosophy of working with the whole family continues to strengthen.

What impact do you feel your work has had on Aspire and its clients?

I hope that my impact on Aspire staff and consumers will continue as I have the opportunity to share my past experiences and knowledge.  I have a strong background in managing Medicaid Rehabilitation Option (MRO) Programs and staff.  As that area grows for Aspire, I can have an impact through demonstrating how to develop that additional programming in outpatient services.

What things do you do to help you cope with the demands of your job?

I am a big believer in balance between work and leisure.  I work hard at living a very balanced life.  I have many interests and a few talents.  I work my mind and body through the practice of yoga.  I continue to work my body by hiking, walking, and biking regularly.  I love to camp.  There is no better sleeping, than sleeping in a tent! I love to listen to audio books and average about three a month while I drive. I love to cook.  Since coming to Aspire and purchasing a share of the Harvest Land Farm crops, I have learned to cook many new vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I am a quilter.  I have a great sewing room in my home and I love to disappear in there and be creative.  I make bed quilts, wall hangings, bags and the occasional pillow sham.  I spend time with my son on the weekends and we attend many sporting and musical events.

dianna Huddleston is the Director of Outpatient Services at Aspire Indiana’s Carmel outpatient office. While the beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Ms. Huddleston, you can learn more about Aspire Indiana at https://www.facebook.com/AspireIndiana.  You can also follow Ms. Huddleston on Twitter @littledhudd.

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