Dr. Tara Chalakani has been named CEO of Preferred Behavioral Health Group in Lakewood, the organization announced.
The promotion is effective Jan. 1, 2023, upon the retirement of CEO Mary Pat Angelini.
Chalakani, who is currently working as the organization’s deputy CEO, brings 30 years of experience in diverse health care fields of nursing, psychology and mental health.
PBHG is central New Jersey’s leading behavioral health care organization, serving over 30,000 individuals annually across 70 programs that focus on mental health and addiction prevention, intervention and treatment.
Angelini applauded the news.
“We are extraordinarily fortunate to have someone of Tara’s comprehensive health care background and tremendous leadership capabilities step into the role of CEO,” she said. “Not only is Tara an accomplished professional in the field of behavioral health, as a practicing psychotherapist, she brings a unique perspective into the most pressing issues facing children, adults and families today.”
Founded in 1978, Preferred Behavioral Health Group’s mission is to deliver quality and compassionate behavioral health services to individuals and families through a trauma-informed care philosophy and approach. With a focus on the values of compassion, honesty, accountability, integrity, respect, diversity and inclusion. PBHG strives to be a center of excellence that focuses on innovative wellness through compassionate care. PBHG changes lives and saves lives through a strengths-based approach, helping individuals achieve their full potential and enhancing their quality of life. In 2017, PBHG became an affiliate of Oaks Integrated Care and, in 2021, became a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center.
Chalakani’s background includes more than 30 years in health care in various roles, including: maternal/child health, crisis response, inpatient adult psychiatric, community mental health, partial care, intensive outpatient, behavioral health leadership, higher education and organizational consulting.
“I am ecstatic to join the passionate and innovative team at PBHG as chief executive officer,” Chalakani said. “I look forward to helping PBHG continue to provide the highest-quality behavioral health care services to New Jersey’s communities and families through a trauma-informed care philosophy.”
Grace Hanlon, chair of PBHG’s board of trustees, said Chalakani will be a great addition.
“Tara has devoted her entire career to helping improve the lives of others and brings a proven track record of leadership in nonprofit and for-profit sectors,” she said. “As CEO, she will undoubtedly help PBHG fulfill our mission of providing industry-leading, compassionate, behavioral health care.”