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DHS news release

Aug. 10, 2005


Contact: Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738

Program contact: Bob Nikkel (503) 945-9708


Douglas County social services director taking Pendleton hospital post



The state has hired the director of the Douglas County Health and Social Services Department as superintendent of the state-operated 60-bed Eastern Oregon Psychiatric Center in Pendleton.


He is Robert L. Furlow of Roseburg, who has headed the 300-employee county agency since 2001 and was its deputy director for 11 years before that. As director, his responsibilities included serving as county mental health director. He will become the hospital's superintendent on Aug. 22.


The hospital's name is scheduled to change Sept. 1 to Blue Mountain Recovery Center.


"Bob Furlow brings us experience in administering hospital programs, success in recruiting physicians and other medical personnel, and a track record of capable administration," said Bob Nikkel, mental health and addictions administrator for the Oregon Department of Human Services. "As superintendent, he will join an energetic staff that believes strongly in patient recovery through using research-tested treatment practices."


As superintendent, Furlow, 56, succeeds Maxine Stone, who left the job in June after six years.


Furlow's experience also includes directing the four-county Southeastern Utah District Health Department and directing hospitals for the U.S. Army, from which he is a retired lieutenant colonel. He holds a bachelor's degree in health education and public health from Oregon State University and a master's in public administration from the University of Oklahoma.


Nikkel said the hospital's interim chief medical officer will be Dr. Erum Khaleeq, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist who has been on the staff since December 2003. She earned her medical degree at Spartan Health Services University medical school in St. Lucia, and did her residency at the University of Texas, Houston. As chief medical officer, Khaleeq succeeds Dr. Satya Chandragiri, M.D., who has taken a job as medical director of Salem Hospital's psychiatry department.