The ADAMhs Board meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2023 featured a light agenda of routine committee reports and year-end administrative actions; however, it marked CEO Rob Giesige’s final meeting and culmination of 31 years of public service. He is retiring at the end of the month.
For the last five years, he has been the board’s CEO and before that the board’s chief financial officer for nine and a half years.
A Bowling Green State University graduate, he has also worked as a state auditor and served as the chief financial officer for the Defiance Public Library System and Paulding Exempted Village Schools.
Reflecting on that, Giesige commended current and past ADAMhs Board members for their service and what it has meant for supporting changes that have resulted in better outcomes for families and individuals served by the ADAMhs Board and its provider agencies.
He referenced a mindset that has shifted over the years from a narrow focus on the behavioral health issues that clients dealt with to one that also addresses other issues that impact their behavioral health.
By working collaboratively with other systems like Jobs and Family Services, the schools, boards of developmental disabilities, the courts and even other types of healthcare, Giesige said that everyone is able to do better for their shared clients.
Long ago before any of the current ADAMhs Board members were involved, he explained, the board supported housing initiatives in the four county area for behavioral health clients who had nowhere to live.
Giesige noted that at that time, and sometimes still to this day, those efforts carried risk for the board since it relies heavily on public support of tax levies.
But those board members also understood that having a safe, warm and dry place to live was as critical to clients’ health as counseling.
More recently, he continued, family and children first councils have required all agencies that serve children with challenging needs to meet regularly and work together to address those challenges so the children and their families can succeed.
The ADAMhs Board provides financial support to each council as well as cooperates with service planning for children with behavioral health issues.
In other areas, the ADAMhs Board has been the driving force for initiatives benefiting four county residents of all ages.
For example, the integration of physical and behavioral health services involved board leadership and funding.
As a result, area residents who need a primary care doctor, a dentist, a behavior health professional, a pharmacy and more can go to one place – the Community Health Centers in Bryan and Defiance — to get the healthcare that they need regardless of their insurance or ability to pay.
Giesige also commended the board for supporting a more robust behavioral health prevention and education effort that is reaching more schools and businesses than ever before with messages on mental health wellness as well as suicide awareness and prevention.
Finally, he praised the board for its support of using grant and local funding to provide ADAMhs funded clients with transportation for medical appointments, grocery shopping and other necessities of daily living.
By working with local transportation companies such as K & P Medical Transport, agency staff are no longer needed to drive clients which allows them to help with other client needs.
“All of those initiatives and more have been made possible over the years because of caring and committed ADAMhs Board members.”
“They have directed board staff to continually look for ways that improve clients’ overall health and then provided the funds to make it all happen,” Giesige said.
“During my time at the ADAMhs Board I have appreciated all of the effort that our board members have made to improve people’s lives.”