Pictured (left to right) are Kurt Carlson and Dr. Robert Ryan. Photos provided.

The Bowen Center Board of Directors announced the retirement of its President and CEO, Kurt Carlson.

The longtime head of Indiana’s largest community mental health center will step down in late June, and Robert Ryan, senior vice president of operations at the Bowen Center, has been named to succeed Carlson as president/CEO at from July 1.

Carlson has been a strong advocate for people with mental illness, according to the Bowen Center press release.

“For 49 years, Kurt Carlson has demonstrated his commitment to people living with mental illness and addiction, especially the most vulnerable, low-income and underserved populations,” said Beth Pinkerton, Chair of the Board of the Bowen Center. “Kurt’s visionary leadership and spirit of innovation have helped ensure these people have access to affordable, high-quality care that allows them to live their best lives. We are privileged to carry on the strong legacy he leaves and know that Dr. Ryan is the right choice to lead the Bowen Center into its next phase of continued growth.

When Carlson was hired in 1989, the Center was struggling financially and had 100 employees serving five counties. Under Carlson’s leadership, the company quickly found a solid financial footing and now employs more than 1,300 people, serving the growing northern and central Indiana regions, the press release said. The Center not only serves people with mental illness, but also has a large case management team, a state-of-the-art 20-bed psychiatric hospital, an opioid treatment disorder recovery center and, in 2020, moved to integrated care with health. clinics now in Fort Wayne, Huntington and Warsaw and many more are planned for the immediate future.

Carlson is a strong believer in fully embracing each community and when faced with a need or challenge, he stepped up to see how the Bowen Center could help, the press release said. This leadership style has helped mentor a strong management team at the Center, including Ryan, who will assume Carlson’s role in July.

“Working closely with Kurt over the years has been an honor. He has shown through his leadership that patients come first, that patients are valuable to their community, and that he always sees challenges as opportunities. I know Indiana is a better place to live because of his leadership,” Ryan said. “As we usher in a new era for the Bowen Center, we will honor Kurt’s tenure by continuing to keep our patients and the communities we serve front and center. I look forward to working closely with our dedicated Board of Directors, staff and management team to build on what Kurt has been able to accomplish.

For more information about the Bowen Center, visit BowenCenter.org.