DuPage Community Board highlight: Gina Sharp
In honor of National Adoption Month this November, our DuPage Community Board is pleased to highlight DuPage Board Member Gina Sharp!
The board thanks Gina, President of Linden Oaks Behavioral Health at Edward-Elmhurst Hospital, not only for her work to improve the behavioral health for families and children throughout DuPage County, but also for her commitment to enriching the lives of others through her involvement in several capacities with our DuPage Center.
Hear from Gina below about her involvement with Metropolitan and the DuPage community:
|What brought you to serve on the MFSD Board?
I first had the opportunity to be a board member of Family Shelter Service, a nonprofit providing services to individuals and families suffering from domestic violence. Domestic violence creates trauma in people’s lives.
I was very impressed with Family Shelter Service, and wanted to give back and help individuals suffering from domestic violence, especially healthcare workers. Trauma triggers mental health and substance use issues. Many nurses suffer from domestic violence because they are such caregivers for other people; they often don’t stop to evaluate their own safety, or they try and take on helping their abuser themselves.
When Family Shelter Service merged with Metropolitan Family Services DuPage (MFSD), I joined the DuPage Board. MFS is a wonderful organization, one I have had the opportunity to collaborate with over the years in providing services.
The ability to help an organization that helps individuals with mental health, substance use needs, and wraparound services was exciting and brought me to MFSD Board. It was exciting to see the expansion of MFS to also incorporate Family Shelter Service, and offer the help needed by too many individuals throughout our county.
What’s your favorite memory or experience in being able to help others, particularly youth?
One of my favorite memories in helping youth was at the Family Shelter Service Holiday Fair where moms and kids were able to pick out gifts for the holiday season. The joy and simple smile, knowing that they received a present, was priceless.
What surprised you about being involved with MFSD?
I have been impressed with the breadth of services offered throughout DuPage County. MFSD provides assistance in many communities, but the most intriguing service that surprised me was their Legal Aid Society.
This is a program that offers legal services for many vulnerable people that may not have an advocate for themselves, including domestic violence victims. The Legal Aid Society helps individuals navigate complex legal issues and keeps families together, which is so important for our kids.
What do you hope to accomplish while serving as a board member?
Mental health services are needed now more than ever. Not only has our society faced a COVID pandemic, but we are in the midst of a mental health pandemic. So many people were at home and isolated for a long period of time. Not only have we seen an increase in anxiety and depression, but there has also been an increase in trauma.
I hope to continue to raise funds for MFS so that MFS can continue to provide excellent services to individuals struggling mentally and financially throughout our community.
What else would you like others to know about you?
I am very passionate about the health and wellbeing of our community. I am very blessed to have a healthy and vibrant family. My mom and dad are a huge support for us and are active in our lives. My husband and three children are a part of our community, and I want to continue to make it a great place to live for them.
My twins are in their senior year of high school, and I have a freshman. They have been a joy in my life, and we volunteer together in various organizations.
They are incredibly fortunate for all the blessings and stability in their lives, and I hope we’ve created an awareness of individual differences and the value of giving back to our community.
In my spare time, I greatly enjoy spending time at the lake and playing cards (casino and pinochle are favorites) with my family.
About Gina Sharp
As the President of Linden Oaks Behavioral Health Services at Edward-Elmhurst Health, Gina Sharp responsible for strategic development, execution and oversight for the Behavioral Health Service Line for Edward-Elmhurst Health across all care settings as well as physician services.
The team is responsible for building and managing a clinically relevant and fiscally prudent organization to meet the current and future mental health needs of the community in the Edward-Elmhurst System.
The focus for behavioral health is breaking stigma around mental illness and substance abuse by creating local access to services via access points to outpatient care, primary care integration, and support to the emergency departments and medical floors. Approaches to care based on quality and outcomes and to begin advancing care delivery with online technology. Linden Oaks has seven Joint Commission Disease Specific Certifications including depression, bipolar, dementia, eating disorders, chemical dependency, anxiety, and self-injury.
Ms. Sharp has spoken across the country on issues related to the success of creating access and delivering quality behavioral health services.
Education, Awards and Professional Affiliations
Ms. Sharp earned her master’s degree in Business Administration and Finance from DePaul University, a Bachelor of Science degree in community health and health administration from the University of Illinois. Ms. Sharp is a Fellow in of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Ms. Sharp serves on the Illinois Hospital Associations Behavioral Health Consortium as past Chairman. She serves on the National Association of Behavioral Health Committee for Behavioral Health Services within General Healthcare Systems. She is a recipient of the 2017 Women of Distinction Award from the Western Suburb Magazine. She received the 2013 American College of Healthcare Executives Chicagoland Chapter Early Careerist Recognition. Ms. Sharp serves on several local boards to support her community.