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Louis Josephson was recently named to replace Rob Simpson as president and CEO of the Brattleboro Retreat.

BRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro Retreat announced that its board of trustees has appointed Louis Josephson, Ph.D., as the hospital's new president and chief executive officer. He will start on March 1 after moving to Brattleboro.

Josephson, a native of New York City, comes to the Retreat from Los Angeles, where he has served as the president and chief executive officer of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services since 2013. Prior to moving to Los Angeles he served for eight years as president and CEO of Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord, N.H. During that same period, Josephson was also vice president of behavioral health at Concord Hospital, also in New Hampshire. Before joining Riverbend Community Mental Health he served as assistant commissioner in the Office of Child and Adolescent Services for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and as director of Family Court Mental Health Services for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

"I am thrilled to have been chosen to lead such an outstanding organization, and grateful to be following Rob Simpson after all he has accomplished at the Retreat," said Josephson. "Vermonters and people in surrounding communities deserve an outstanding mental health resource and I am committed to continuing the Retreat's drive to provide premier psychiatric and addiction care."

Josephson holds a doctorate in clinical social work from NYU, a master's degree in social work from the Columbia University School of Social Work, and bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.


The appointment of Josephson is the culmination of a lengthy national search to replace the Retreat's outgoing President and CEO Dr. Robert E. Simpson, Jr., who will step down on Dec. 31 after nine years with the organization.

"I am looking forward to being part of the community in southern Vermont," said Josephson. "It will be a privilege to live, work, and participate in such a vibrant and caring place."

Josephson told the Reformer he is familiar with the Brattleboro Retreat due to his time in New Hampshire.

"The Retreat is one of the few remaining free-standing mental health facilities in the eastern United States. It's a huge resource for Vermont and the entire region."

Though he and his family love living in California, he said, he and his wife are looking forward to moving to Windham County.

"These types of opportunities don't come along often in my career field, and I have had a two-year break from shoveling snow from my roof anyway."

Stephenson admitted filling Simpson's shoes will be a big task, but one he is ready to assume.

"I am aware of the trajectory that he took with the Retreat. He has made a lot of great decisions, expanded the Retreat's care and offered new programs. I am fortunate to follow somebody that is that good."

At the same time, Stephenson said the Retreat's mission will prove to be challenging for anyone who might take on the job after Simpson.

"The goal for me and the organization will be to ensure an outstanding patient experience, including patient safety at all levels of care. I need to be able to look into the eyes of my patients and their families every day and tell them their loved ones are receiving excellent, compassionate and safe care."

"It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Dr. Josephson to the Brattleboro Retreat and to the entire state of Vermont," said Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Catlin. "Our ability to attract such a high caliber candidate speaks volumes about the Retreat's mission, history, and ongoing commitment to providing quality, compassionate care. We are blessed to be passing the torch to another exceptional leader who has the vision, skill, and heart to continue growing and strengthening the hospital and also to provide an exciting new start that's filled with opportunities."

Josephson and his wife Sandra have been married for 30 years. They have a son who is in college and a college-bound daughter who is currently a high school senior. The couple plans to relocate to the Brattleboro area and become active in the local community.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 160.