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Advancing Well-Being: Buncombe Announces Inaugural Behavioral Health Manager

As Buncombe County continues its pursuit of innovation and being on the frontlines of best practices, we are excited to announce the hiring of our first-ever Behavioral Health Manager. After a comprehensive and competitive search, Victoria Reichard emerged as the best candidate for this new position. Assistant County Manager DK Wesley lauded Reichard’s extensive experience coordinating behavioral health activities and her advanced understanding of Buncombe County’s landscape of behavioral health needs. This position is vital to the success of the County’s new Behavioral Health Justice Collaborative (BHJC) established through the Justice Resource Advisory Council (JRAC). “In order to enhance and propel the BHJC’s work, it became evident that centralized coordination, monitoring, and reporting was lacking. It is also necessary to have someone dedicated to supporting this work from a coordination and administrative perspective,” explains Wesley. “One of the main and most urgent efforts the BHJC will support is the development of a recommended Opioid Settlement financial plan for Board consideration, which will be an extensive effort and include a great deal of partner and community engagement.”

Reichard is well steeped in the world of behavioral health having studied Human Services at Elon University and completing her Master of Social Work at the University of Maryland. She says this position intrigues her and will be an avenue to pursue a desire to work on implementing policy that can immediately affect community. “During my research of the position and my current interactions with local collaboratives, I knew that there were already efforts underway to integrate behavioral health in schools, law enforcement, emergency services, and social services. I further learned that the County understood how this has an impact on the quality of life for those in our community,” notes Reichard. “I want to be part of that work and be a bridge between the various efforts and to build a common voice from the various angles.” And in regard to that work, she says auditing existing County efforts and community needs is a crucial first step. “Through this process, I hope to understand the current strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results that we have and that our community is seeking. My initial focus will be to develop a plan on how to use the Opioid Settlement funds, but to also look at longer term efforts needed to support a healthy community.”

Buncombe County is excited for this next step in working with the community and our partners to advance well-being. Reichard’s first day will be Feb. 28.

Victoria Reichard’s professional biography

Victoria began her work with children while she was in high school at afterschool and summer programs that led her toward continuing her education in fields that would help others. She graduated from Elon University with a bachelor's degree in Human Services and a focus in Criminal Justice and went on to complete internships with the Burlington police department and the local Guardian ad Litem office. Next, Reichard earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a concentration in Management Administration & Community Organization as well as Clinical and a specialization in Children and Families. After graduate school, she interned as a School Social Worker at a Baltimore City school for students with developmental delays and then at a residential treatment facility for children where she focused on administration and community engagements.

Before relocating to Asheville, Reichard worked at a Baltimore City group home for young males. In 2008, she began working at a community mental health agency as a community support worker and later as an Intensive In-Home Team Lead as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Over the last 11 years, she was in management and leadership positions where she oversaw, grew, and started several behavioral health programs working with local schools, medical providers, departments of social services and juvenile justice, and other mental health agencies. During this time, Reichard was able to participate in several collaboratives and groups that helped her share and understand the needs and challenges of our communities.

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Updated Dec 29, 2022 07:58 AM
Published Feb 21, 2022 03:18 PM