John Albright, Axis Health System Board President, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC). Albright was chosen as the 2021 Outstanding Board Member during the CBHC Annual Behavioral Health Training Conference held in Brekenridge, Colo., Sept. 29 to Oct. 2. CBHC provides a statewide network of community-based behavioral health providers, which offers a wide array of services to all Coloradans.

“I have had the privilege of watching John’s leadership in action over the last 21 years,” said Shelly Burke, Axis Health System CEO. “His grace as a leader, his commitment to the mission and his business acumen applied to the role of Board President has contributed to the success of Axis and are all instrumental in developing the strategies to ensure that community healthcare continues to endure and evolve.”

Albright joined Axis 22 years ago when the agency was facing a number of challenges. Since then, his peers requested he serve as president because of his unique personal qualities. He served through the initial crisis, creating the first licensed Acute Treatment Unit (ATU) in Colorado. He led the Board’s commitment and transformation to integrated care and supported Axis as it evolved to become both a Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) and a Community Health Center (CHC). Albright was integral in providing leadership to vote to merge with the Dove Creek CHC in 2020 to improve and enhance healthcare access across the Axis catchment region. Albright has worked with the Board and CEOs to bring Axis from a $3M operation serving 1,200 clients in five sites to a $29M operation with nine sites, bringing mental health, substance use, oral health and primary care to more than 12,000 residents of Southwest Colorado. He led the Board through challenges of changing membership, demonstrating leadership, tact and sensitivity. During a recent federal review, the Board was commended as a stellar, high-functioning, mature Board. This is due in no small part to John’s leadership as President.

While time and distance have made direct involvement with state and national legislation impractical, Albright assumed broader community and regional responsibility in addition to the role of organizational ambassador. He participates in Board member recruitment, with a particular emphasis outside of the La Plata population center, to ensure a broad Board perspective. He makes the time and commitment to attend Board member interviews held in the candidate’s home county/community, providing insight into the depth and breadth of Axis’ services and offering context for the director role.

Most recently, in 2020, Axis successfully completed a merger with the Dove Creek CHC to better align care delivery and ensure long-term stability for care in that region. Albright was central to that process, leading discussions with the boards and integrating their cultures as part of the merger. He continues to be open to new opportunities that expand the traditional definition of community-based healthcare. With true vision, he has helped our communities and our partner organizations to appreciate the opportunities before us as he models the courage to bring those opportunities to reality, all in service to the mission of making a meaningful difference.

Since 1967, the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council has served as the membership association for Colorado’s statewide system of community behavioral health providers. CBHC member organizations are the backbone of Colorado’s public behavioral health safety net, working to ensure all Coloradoans have access to quality, community-based services tailored to the unique needs and strengths of each community.