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DHS news release

January 31, 2007

Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738
Program contact: Bob Nikkel 503-945-9708

Kerry Kelly named superintendent at Blue Mountain Recovery Center

Kerry Kelly, who joined the state-operated psychiatric hospital in Pendleton seven years ago as a nurse, has been named superintendent of the 60-patient facility.

As superintendent of Blue Mountain Recovery Center, Kelly succeeds Robert Furlow of Lebanon, who has been named chief financial officer for the three state hospitals. Furlow had been the superintendent in Pendleton since 2005 and is former director of Douglas County Health and Social Services in Roseburg. Furlow was assigned last fall to provide fiscal oversight at the state hospital.

Kelly, a Pendleton resident who had been acting superintendent since November, leads a hospital whose 130 staff members serve clients from across the state. Blue Mountain Recovery Center is considered a leader in implementing the recovery model, whose philosophy is that patients can lead normal lives in the community.

"I am delighted Kerry Kelly accepted this assignment after five years as director of nursing," said Bob Nikkel, Oregon Department of Human Services assistant director for addictions and mental health. "She has medical and psychiatric nursing experience, a genuine commitment to the patients, and the respect of staff in both Pendleton and Salem."

Kelly received her nursing degree in 1999 from the Oregon Health and Sciences University program in La Grande, where she earlier received her biology degree from Eastern Oregon University. She worked for a La Grande nonprofit before joining the Pendleton hospital in February 2000. When she decided to go back to school in the 1990s, she chose nursing as a second career.

"I like the care giving aspect of nursing," Kelly said. "I like nursing's holistic approach to client care.

"Our job at BMRC is to get people ready to return to their lives in the community so they can pursue their recovery," Kelly said. "Our philosophy is that hospitalization should be a short-term solution, and everyone here is dedicated to getting the person ready to return to the community."

She noted that the Pendleton hospital also serves as a mental health resource for rural Eastern Oregon, conducting training for area professionals and serving as a clinical site for OHSU and Blue Mountain Community College nursing students, as well as psychology students from Walla Walla Community College in Washington State.

Nikkel said naming Furlow chief financial officer for the state hospitals would free Superintendent Marvin Fickle, M.D., and Deputy Superintendent Maynard Hammer to focus on patient care and siting and planning for replacement hospitals.

DHS operates state hospitals in Salem, Portland and Pendleton as part of statewide mental health services that serve more than 100,000 Oregonians annually.

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