After meeting Mr. Obie McKenzie at the Mercy Medical Center Caritas Gala in March and hearing about his interest in combatting the opioid crisis here in Springfield, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno invited him back to the city to convene with local stakeholders to develop a plan. Mr. McKenzie is Managing Director for Blackrock Investment Management in Princeton, NJ, the largest institutional asset management firm in the United States.
Today, stakeholders met with Mayor Sarno and Mr. McKenzie to discuss the city’s resolve in combatting opioid abuse. Colin Beatty, CEO of Column Health, shared broad vital information about their date-driven clinics located in the eastern part of the state. Column Health representatives then discussed how the clinics facilitate full recoveries from mental illness and addiction, and enable stability and self-actualization for patients and team members.
This is part of the Sarno Administration’s continued efforts to address the opioid epidemic. Mayor Sarno stated, “Law enforcement can only do so much. They must be supplemented with ‘wrap around services’ of health, mental health and recovery coaches and treatment aspects. I’m very thankful to Mr. Obie McKenzie’s past efforts and I am hopeful that we can pursue a public/private partnership to continue to attack this opioid crisis.”
Also attending the meeting were Police Commissioner John Barbieri; Deputy Chief William Cochrane, Captain Trent Hufnagel; Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris; Mayor’s Chief of Staff Denise Jordan; Hampden County Sheriff’s Department Superintendent James Kelleher; Hampden County Sheriff’s Department Substance Abuse Consultant Peter Babineau; Column Health Clinic Operations Director Biruh Mezgebu; Column Health Strategic Development Manager Gurteg Singh; CHD Chief Operating Officer Lois Nesci; CHD Vice President of Development, Marketing and Communications Kim Lee; Mercy Hospital Chairman of the Board John Sjoberg; Bo Sjoberg, Governor Baker’s Western Mass Office; St. Francis Hospital Vice President of Community Health Equity & Health Policy Marcus McKinney; Richard Johnson, New North Citizens Council; Adalberto Cotto, New North Citizens Council.