• Jeff Burkhead

Treatment and Recovery Center leadership team is in place

Updated: Apr 8

With the appointment of an executive director as well as the hiring of a director of operations and a clinical manager, the leadership team of the Treatment and Recovery Center (TRC) is complete.

Dr. George Thompson, executive director & medical director

The Behavioral Health Partners Board of Directors recently appointed Dr. George Thompson as executive director of the TRC, which will be in addition to his duties as medical director of the facility, a position he began in November 2021.


Construction of the TRC is expected to be completed in summer 2022. The facility is part of the Treatment and Recovery Campus of Douglas County. Behavioral Health Partners, Inc., a nonprofit partnership between LMH Health and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center in close collaboration with Douglas County, provides leadership, clinical oversight, and operational management of the TRC. Behavioral Health Partners, Inc. is governed by a nine-member board of directors. LMH Health, Bert Nash and Douglas County Commissioners each appoint three members to the board who may serve three-year terms.


Thompson is a psychiatrist trained to work with children and adults. He has practiced in Kansas for more than 30 years, taught at both the University of Kansas and University of Missouri-Kansas City schools of medicine, and was psychiatry residency director at the Menninger Clinic and UMKC. He recently co-authored a book, “Polyvagal Theory and the Developing Child,” which addresses the neurobiology of danger, threat, safety and connection, themes of great importance to the work of the TRC.


In addition to Thompson, Santana White will be the director of operations of the TRC. She began her duties March 28.


Santana White, director of operations

“We are excited about the skills and perspectives she will bring as a dedicated behavioral health professional with engaged, hands-on experience as a licensed therapist, clinician and substance use counselor,” Dr. Thompson said. “Santana has a history of success in manager and director roles at behavioral health and substance use stabilization facilities and is passionate about providing the best psychological care possible for people who are in the most urgent need.”


Most recently, White has been responsible for the overall setup of the Crisis Stabilization and Acute Withdrawal Management Program in Oak Harbor, Wash. White was director of this 10-bed stabilization unit for individuals withdrawing from alcohol and drugs. She is originally from Wichita and attended both Washburn and Kansas State universities.

Luke Meier, Access Center program manager

Luke Meier also recently joined the TRC leadership team. He is the program manager of the Access Center at the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and will be the clinical manager of the TRC. Luke and his wife, Rachel, who is the program manager of the Bert Nash Center’s newly created Assertive Community Treatment team, moved to Lawrence from Lincoln, Neb., where he was an addictions therapist for the Veterans Administration. Most recently, Luke worked as a co-responder/therapist in a partnership between the Bert Nash Center and Lawrence Police Department. He brings extensive experience in crisis counseling, de-escalation, and leadership to the TRC, where he will supervise crisis therapists and case workers, as well as peer counselors.


“In addition to his passion for crisis work, Luke is dedicated to building a supported, collaborative and mission-driven team,” Dr. Thompson said.


Tricia Dillingham, nurse manager

Also part of the TRC leadership team is Tricia Dillingham, nurse manager. Tricia joined the TRC team last year as a psychiatric RN in the LMH emergency department. Earlier in her career she worked as a case manager at the Bert Nash Center and a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. She recently accepted the role of nurse manager for the TRC and will provide leadership and oversight to RNs and behavioral health specialists. Before joining the TRC, Tricia was a nurse at the Strawberry Hill Behavioral Health Facility’s psychiatric unit.


“With years of experience providing patient care, dedication to continued education and passion to teach and lead others, we are excited to welcome Tricia to this role,” Dr. Thompson said.


Sarah Robertson, manager of executive adminstration

The manager of executive administration for the TRC is Sarah Robertson. A lifetime Lawrence resident, Sarah came to the TRC from LMH Health and has experience in healthcare administration and strategic communications. She recently completed her Master of Science in journalism through the University of Kansas Integrated Marketing Communications program and serves on the TRC’s marketing communications committee.


“Sarah is passionate about helping others, particularly underserved members in our community,” Dr. Thompson said. “I look forward to working with all of these leaders as we continue to develop our team and take steps toward opening the TRC this year. We aim to be good stewards of the county’s resources, trusted to accompany people to the other side of a crisis, with a renewed sense of hope and well-being, along with sufficient supports to keep moving forward.”


If interested in career opportunities with the TRC, visit trcdgks.org.