Behavioral Health Division
Sandy Vasko is the Director of Behavioral Health at the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. In this role, Vasko oversees the Department’s delivery of a comprehensive range of behavioral health services for adults and children, including emergency and crisis intervention, social and psychiatric rehabilitation, individual and group counseling, family support, residential support, outreach, recovery support, and consumer-directed service. Vasko oversees an extensive network of contracted provider agencies located throughout Philadelphia, which includes 11 community mental health centers, more than 30 specialized behavioral health agencies, and 5 crisis response centers.
A native Clevelander, Vasko completed her undergraduate degree at John Carroll University in a suburb of Cleveland. She spent two subsequent years in New York City, studying at Teachers College, Columbia University to earn her M.A and M.Ed. in counseling psychology. She returned home and started her career as a counselor in an inner city methadone maintenance clinic. Within a year, she joined the staff of a multi-cultural services center where she functioned in multiple capacities during her eight-year tenure with the agency. During her time as the clinical director, she was an active participant on state committees and task forces regarding case management. It was this work that brought her to Philadelphia as a trainer and consultant to the administrative team charged with the closure of Philadelphia State Hospital.
Within a year of starting this work with the newly developing Community Treatment Teams (CTT), Vasko was asked to join the administrative team as the new case management director of the CTTs and thus started her journey in Philadelphia. She worked with the five state-employed teams for six years to assist in their transitioning into the community and ultimately form a state employment status. With the hospital successfully closed and the teams well established, Vasko was pursued for other growth opportunities with the behavioral health system. Since 1996, she was promoted to director for the Office of Mental Health and most recently to director of the Behavioral Health Division. Vasko remains close to those who informed and formed her early experiences in Philadelphia.
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