Focus will be fight against opioid abuse
By Joe Higgins
The former director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is joining Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) in the role of Population Health Executive in Residence.
Tracy Plouck is the newest member of the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health — a joint venture started by CHSP and the University of Toledo’s College of Health and Human Services. The OAIPH has a mission of working collaboratively with organizations throughout the state to improve the health of all Ohioans. Plouck served as a member of Governor John Kasich’s Cabinet as the director of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services from 2011-2018 and has held a variety of leadership roles for the state including leading the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team, serving twice as Ohio’s Medicaid director and also as deputy director for both the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.
“We are so excited to have Tracy joining us and helping to lead the work of our Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health. She is widely seen as one of the most knowledgeable people in Ohio when it comes to opioid abuse and substance use disorder,” said Randy Leite, dean of CHSP. “Tracy has a long record of leadership in the administrations of both Republican and Democratic governors and is well-respected across both sides of the political aisle. I know she will help Ohio University to continue to exercise leadership in addressing the crisis of substance abuse in Ohio.”
Among the duties of her new role, Plouck will provide leadership for research and outreach activities focused on substance abuse and mental health issues, facilitate regional and statewide connections to promote and extend research dealing with these issues and contribute content knowledge for the development of courses and continuing education workshops in the areas of opioid use, substance abuse disorder and related issues.
With the state, Plouck said she’s enjoyed the ability to travel to communities and get to know healthcare providers along with local leaders who are working collaboratively to help address some of the challenges related to mental illness and addiction.
“The opportunity to serve at OHIO is fantastic,” she said. “It will help me expand my perspective and think about how academic institutions can help bring some resources to bear in these areas.”
Recognizing that many effective solutions to issues related to mental illness and addiction originate locally, Plouck said “The value of the Alliance is that you can take what one member organization has done well in one area and think about how the general concept could be adapted elsewhere in the state. The network of providers and other partners is able to function as a terrific sounding board and come up with some constructive plans that can be moved forward in different ways in different communities.”
In her free time, Plouck enjoys yard work, specifically tending to her vegetable garden. She and her husband, Rex, also enjoy traveling with their 9-year-old son, Felix.