Press Releases

Melanie Taylor Becomes CEO of Burke after Susan Rushing’s Retirement

By Grace Juarez, Reporter, Lufkin Daily News, see the original story here.

Melanie Taylor has taken the helm as CEO of Burke after Susan Rushing retired last week.

Rushing left Burke with 39 years of service to Burke, with 29 as CEO.

“It marks the end of my career at Burke, but it doesn’t end my care and commitment for the mission of Burke, the people of Burke and the people that we serve,” Rushing said. “It’s a great way to look back and see how far we’ve come, and I realize while I’m being celebrated, I didn’t do this by myself.”

Taylor enters the position with 32 years Read More »

Burke’s Chair Colonel Daniel Recognized as Outstanding Volunteer

Burke CEO Susan Rushing and Burke Deputy CEO Melanie Taylor celebrate the recognition with Colonel Howard Daniel, Jr. and his wife Clara.

Last week, at the 34th Annual Texas Council Conference in Houston, Colonel Howard Daniel Jr., Chair of Burke’s Board of Trustees, was presented with the Frank M. Adams Outstanding Individual Volunteer Service Award. The award is presented annually during the Texas Council Conference and identifies individuals and organizations who exemplify excellent volunteer service in the Community Center system.

Col. Daniel is a leading example, providing specific support to frontline staff and ensuring they have the needs and tools to do their job confidently. Read More »

Rushing Recognized for Exemplifying the “Spirit of a Social Worker”

From left to right: Dr. Emmerentie Oliphant, SFA School of Social Work Professor and Director of MSW Program, Susan Rushing, Burke CEO, Col. Howard Daniel, Burke Chairman of the Board, and Paul Jackson, Director of Community Relations.

On March 13, at the 24th Annual Mission Possible Conference in Nacogdoches, Susan Rushing, CEO of Burke, was presented with the Spirit Award by the SFA School of Social Work. The intent of the award is to identify and honor individuals who may not be social workers, yet they embody the spirit of social work practice.  According to Dr. Emmerentie Oliphant, “The School of Social Work recognizes Ms. Read More »

Burke’s Mental Health Emergency Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary

This week marks the 10th anniversary of Burke’s Mental Health Emergency Center (MHEC), a ground-breaking program that has significantly improved crisis mental health services in east Texas while serving as an award-winning model for other regions throughout the state.
Burke’s MHEC was the nation’s first rural freestanding comprehensive psychiatric emergency service and the first to depend entirely on telemedicine for psychiatric care. Before the MHEC was established, people in mental health crisis often waited for extended periods in hospital emergency rooms—or sometimes in jails—as beds were sought in state or private psychiatric hospitals elsewhere in Texas, far from home and family.  With Read More »

Fifteen new Instructors certified to teach Youth Mental Health First Aid

Pictured top row from left are National Council Trainers Marina Pessrl and Eric Weaver. Newly trained instructors: Tina Engledow from Community Healthcore (CHC), Amy Moser from ESC-Region 6, Colleen Plair of Arlington ISD, Jami Poteet of ESC-Region 5, Whitney Murdock of Spindletop Center, Shannon Story of Burke, Patrica Deloney and Staci Cabbiness of CHC and Melissa Simmons of Burke; bottom row, Renee Todd of CHC, Denise Truax, Melody Sanchez and Shelby Martinez of Helen Farabee Center, and Monique Wicker and Kinnie Reina of Burke. Instructors are holding their Algee koalas, the mascot of the Mental Health First Aid program.
This summer, Read More »

Burke could be valuable resource for East Texas districts’ school safety plans

By Donna McCollum, Journalist, see the original KTRE story here.

Lufkin, TX (KTRE)
Students’ mental and behavioral health needs are listed as a top priority in Gov. Greg Abbott’s school and firearm safety action plan.
East Texas News learned that mental health professionals could be an excellent resource for both services and guidance to school districts.
Dr. James Smith, Burke’s chief clinical officer, praised Abbott’s call for more behavioral threat assessments within schools. But he prefaces that with…”A person with mental health issues is no more likely to commit an act of violence as an individual without mental health issues,” Smith said.
Smith said people trained to do threat assessments are less likely to jump to ill-informed conclusions.
“And that’s our biggest concern that then we’re Read More »

STEP Toward Recovery: Burke Hosting Outreach Presentation

LeeAnn Dwire, 18, right, has participated in Burke’s STEP program for the past year. She is now working, recently obtained her GED and is preparing for college entrance exams.
By Nicole Bradford, Reporter, see the original story here.
Nacogdoches, TX (Daily Sentinel)
A year ago, LeeAnn Dwire might have seemed like a garden variety troubled teen.
Depressed and anxious, the teen often isolated herself. Worse, she began having hallucinations — hearing voices that were not there.
“I was in a bad place,” said Dwire, now 18 and holding down a job while preparing for the SAT. “My mom got scared for me and started trying Read More »

Closing the Gap in East Texas: Improving Mental Health Care for Disadvantaged, Rural Populations

Recently, Burke therapist, Stephanie Knott was interviewed by Diolog: The Texas Episcopalian magazine. Read below to learn more about Burke’s partnership with the Episcopal Health Foundation and the Seminary of the Southwest to improve access to mental health services in East Texas counties.
Seven patients. Two clinics. One elementary school. That’s the typical day for therapist Stephanie Knott. She works for Burke, a mental health agency serving low-income adults and children across 12 East Texas counties surrounding Nacogdoches and Lufkin.
Every patient Knott visits was previously one of the hundreds of people in a mental health crisis waitlisted for care because this Read More »

Burke Broke Ground in Nacogdoches for a new Mental Health Clinic

In January, Burke broke ground on four acres along North University Drive for a new mental health facility in Nacogdoches. Goodwin, Lasiter, and Strong of Lufkin, TX designed the building, and Cox Contractors of Nacogdoches started the construction process at the beginning of the year. Project completion of the $4.5 million, 32,000 square foot building is expected in January of 2019.
The current building is located on North Stallings Drive, where Burke moved to in 2008 after vacating smaller offices in downtown Nacogdoches. This facility is part of a regional system where Burke provides psychiatric care, counseling, and primary care services Read More »

Cook Off to Raise Funds for Burke Bobcats

Burke presents the 6th Annual BBQ Cook Competition benefitting the Burke Bobcats, a Special Olympics team. Join the Burke Bobcats for some delicious barbecue on Saturday, October 21 from 11 am to 3 pm at the Angelina County Farmers Market.
Some of the best BBQ in Angelina County is served by the cooks; including chicken, pork spareribs, pork butt and brisket. Special Olympics athletes will serve as judges for the event. Special Olympics athletes, their families, and the general public are invited. Taste test armbands are available for $5.00.
According to Jake Squiers, Burke COO, the event has three purposes: to celebrate the accomplishments of the Special Olympic athletes, to raise awareness for the Special Olympics and to raise funds to offset the Read More »