Frank Ghinassi Named to Head Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care

Frank Ghinassi Named to Head Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care

Ghinassi has led performance measurement, quality improvement, patient safety and regulatory compliance at Pittsburgh’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

Frank Ghinassi, a psychologist and associate professor in psychiatry who has worked with clinical and administrative teams at the University of Pittsburgh to improve patient access to behavioral health care while significantly driving down unplanned hospital readmissions, is joining Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences as the chief executive of University Behavioral Health Care. He begins his position in July. 

Image of Frank Ghinassi
At the University of Pittsburgh's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Frank Ghinassi has led efforts to reduce unplanned, 30-day readmissions from highs of 18 percent to as low as 9 percent.
At the university’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC), one of the nation’s top funded centers of psychiatric research, Ghinassi has provided leadership and direction to more than 200 psychiatrists and 2,000 staff as vice president tfor performance measurement, quality improvement, patient safety and regulatory compliance. 

He also actively participated in the training and mentorship of psychiatric residents and doctoral psychology interns.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s behavioral health service line includes a 300-bed flagship academic psychiatric teaching facility and over 150 additional psychiatric and substance abuse beds in community acute care hospitals, and annually treats over 6,000 inpatients and 40,000 outpatients from across southwestern Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio and West Virginia.

“In addition to his expertise and managerial experience, Dr. Ghinassi has been on the cutting edge of changing how health care – including behavioral health care – will be delivered in the future,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “He is focused on evidence-based practices and reducing an individual’s risk profile to improve wellness – precisely the direction in which health care is moving.”

In recent years, Ghinassi’s team at Pitt has worked to reduce the number of unhelpful antipsychotic medications patients are taking and problematic variations in care across behavioral health. Unplanned, 30-day psychiatric hospital readmissions at WPIC have been reduced from highs of 18 percent to as low as 9 percent.

Ghinassi has measured and supported the positive impact of placing behavioral health specialists in adult primary care and pediatric clinics where patients receive traditional physical medical exams and treatments, the type of change occurring nationwide to encourage integrative care, spurred by health care reform.

“This integrated physical and behavioral health care has led to earlier identification of behavioral health and addictions diagnosis and co-morbidities, and helped to deliver more timely treatment for these conditions, improving both the behavioral and physical health outcomes for patients and families,” said Ghinassi, an expert in mood and anxiety disorders.

Since 1990, Ghinassi has been an adjunct faculty member of the Center for Creative Leadership, where, as a board certified executive coach, he provides coaching and guidance to Fortune 500 executives and C-Suite leadership teams.

In each of his professional roles, Ghinassi said he tries to focus on determining the causes and motivational determinants of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of those individuals and families he serves.

“I’ve always been fascinated by what motivates people and how together we use what we learn to improve the quality, effectiveness and positive impact of our lives,” Ghinassi said.

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