Integrace Copper Ridge, a nationally-recognized firm in dementia support, announced that Russell L. “Rusty” Mitchell has joined the organization as executive director. A health care executive with more than 20 years of experience, Mitchell will oversee the day-to-day operations at Copper Ridge, as well as design, develop and implement strategic plans for the organization.
Prior to joining Copper Ridge, Mitchell was the executive director for Willow Tree Healthcare Center, a skilled nursing, rehabilitation and senior healthcare community in Charles Town, West Virginia. Between 2009 and 2017, he led the organization through many strategic growth initiatives, including a change of ownership, the creation of a sub-acute rehabilitation unit, the introduction of a Certified Nursing Assistant training and certification program, and extensive exterior renovations.
He was also the executive director for Wilora Lake HealthCare in Charlotte, N.C. from 2001 to 2009. Previously, he has held executive roles at healthcare organizations in Tuscon, Arizona; Lexington, Virginia; and Clearwater, Florida.
Master of Science in Eldercare Administration, Nova Southeastern University.
What’s the No. 1 issue facing Integrace Copper Ridge as you take on the role of executive director?
We face many of the same challenges as other organizations navigating today’s turbulent healthcare climate, a highly competitive job market for recruiting caring and qualified employees, ever changing governmental regulations, and cuts in reimbursement. However, one of the most impressive characteristics about Integrace Copper Ridge is that instead of focusing solely on those issues, Integrace has chosen to focus on the challenges that will advance the care and services that we provide to our residents, families, and colleagues. One of my key roles will be to support the implementation of Integrace Pathways, a philosophy and model for living centered on our belief that empowering each person to live a life that is most meaningful to them is the best way to honor the authenticity of each person.
If you had not chosen health care as a profession, what profession would you choose and why?
I was originally an art major and would have enjoyed painting as a profession but, I realized fairly early that I liked to eat a little too much to be a starving artist.
I was born and raised in Florida and enjoy the beach but, with three active children our vacations lately seem to center around lacrosse and volleyball tournaments.
When I want to relax, I … :
I still enjoy painting, especially watercolors because they are easy to set up and take down. With 3 children sometimes relaxation is limited to an hour here and there.
My favorite movie is Big Wednesday.
“Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say we have done it ourselves.” — Lao Tzu
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