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Mental health office selects acting chief


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POSTED: Friday, July 03, 2009

Dr. Bill Sheehan, medical director of the state Health Department's Adult Mental Health Division, assumed another responsibility Wednesday as the division's acting chief.

Michelle Hill, deputy director for the Behavioral Health Administration, has filled in as acting chief since Dr. Thomas Hester resigned in May last year and moved to Virginia.

Sheehan, with wide experience in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry in Hawaii, takes over at a time of budget cuts and changes in the mental health system to save money.

“;On the bright side, I've been here for years and at least have familiarity, and as medical director I saw some things unfolding,”; he said. He has been trying to meet with people affected by the changes, he said.

Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Sheehan graduated from the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo and did a three-year residency in psychiatry in Dallas.

He moved to Hawaii in 1984 for a two-year fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Hawaii.

When that finished in 1986, he went to the Kahi Mohala Psychiatric Hospital, serving as clinical director, then medical director.

He served on the clinical faculty for the Tripler Army Medical Center's Department of Child Psychiatry and was a consulting psychiatrist for the Department of the Army's Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Service.

From 1986 to 2004 he served as a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist for various hospitals, including the Honolulu Medical Group and Kapiolani Counseling Center at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

He was with Kaiser Permanente from 1997 to 2005 and was chief of behavioral health services when he left Kaiser to become medical director in the state Adult Mental Health Division. He is acting medical director of the Hawaii State Hospital.

He is an assistant clinical professor at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry.

Sheehan is married and has a 17-year-old son.