Lauren Zuchman has been appointed as executive director of the recently launched BeWellPBC, a new initiative focused on advancing behavioral health for children and families. Zuchman will focus on increasing and improving interagency coordination and alignment of behavioral health services in Palm Beach County and more widely engaging community members in innovative solutions to improve the health and wellness of residents.
Zuchman will be housed at Palm Health Foundation in West Palm Beach, the fiscal agent for BeWellPBC, and will work with all system partners and community members that have joined together to form the collective initiative, including the Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation, Quantum Foundation, Children’s Services Council, Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network, Palm Beach County, United Way of Palm Beach County and the School District of Palm Beach County.
BeWellPBC and Zuchman’s leadership of the new initiative arose from the desire to place a spotlight on behavioral health and the necessity for coordination at all levels of the community to ensure comprehensive care and promote behavioral wellness. Growing local resident leadership and Florida’s ranking as 49th in the nation for behavioral health funding heightened the urgency for Palm Beach County neighbors, funders and system partners to come together to create BeWellPBC. With intent to create a community in which every person in Palm Beach County feels empowered, hopeful, supported and connected, BeWellPBC engages residents to direct its work with a focus on health equity.
Zuchman has extensive experience in leading community collaboratives to improve health. She was the first executive director of Healthier Delray Beach, a Palm Health Foundation Healthier Together initiative focused on supporting the behavioral health and well-being of Delray Beach residents. Prior to Healthier Delray Beach, she served at Henderson Behavioral Health in supervisory and management roles and provided care as a licensed social worker. She served as Chair of the Broward County Children’s Systems Meeting for eight years and participated on various workgroups focused on human trafficking, domestic violence, diversion, infant mental health, child welfare, and behavioral health system gaps in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
Zuchman has been recognized multiple times for her commitment to improving public health and wellbeing. In 2018, she received the Palm Beach County Action Alliance for Mental Health Community Voice Award. The year prior, she was named a Palm Beach County Medical Society Hero in Medicine, and in 2014 she was honored with the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida’s EPIC Award (Exceptional People Impacting the Community).
“The BeWellPBC partner organizations have full confidence in Lauren and her ability to lead a new, collaborative initiative that will help us work together, close the gaps and improve care across the county,” said Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of Palm Health Foundation. “Lauren’s leadership combined with her experience as a licensed social worker makes her a strong executive with understanding and compassion for people with behavioral health challenges.”
Zuchman will work closely with BeWellPBC’s Stewardship Council, a blend of 50% providers, professionals, system partners, funders and elected officials and 50% residents who have been directly impacted by behavioral health issues or are leaders or influencers in their communities and neighborhoods.
“We believe BeWellPBC will be a model for bringing together all who are dedicated to behavioral health under one umbrella to create a true and equitable community-wide system of care,” said Zuchman. “I’m honored to serve as the organization’s first executive director and to lead an extraordinary team of people dedicated to improving the health and wellness of Palm Beach County.”
About Palm Health Foundation
Palm Health Foundation is Palm Beach County's community foundation for health. With the support of donors and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. The foundation supports health equity for Palm Beach County residents of all backgrounds, heritage, education, incomes and states of well-being. Palm Health Foundation has invested more than $78 million in Palm Beach County health since 2001. For more information about Palm Health Foundation, visit palmhealthfoundation.org or call (561) 833-6333.