DSHS appoints interim CEO at Western State Hospital’s Gage Center for Forensic Excellence

Contacts: Adolfo Capestany, (360) 878–1240 or Suzie Ovel, (360) 628–2426

OLYMPIA — The Department of Social and Health Services is reaching a major milestone this week toward Governor Inslee’s vision for a multi-biennia, statewide transformation of Washington’s behavioral health system. The plan focuses on developing a 21st century system of care by, in part, creating Forensic Centers of Excellence at state-operated psychiatric hospitals.

As part of the transformation, Western State Hospital is becoming two independent operations centers:

  • Civil Center of Excellence: continue civil operations while developing plans for the new 350-bed hospital; and
  • Gage Center of Forensic Excellence: provide state-of-the-art mental health evaluation, restoration, treatment, habilitation and consultation services.

Earlier this month, Charles Southerland was appointed as the interim chief executive officer at WSH. DSHS has now designated leadership teams for both of the new operation centers. Beginning May 1, Southerland will be the interim CEO for the Civil Center of Excellence and Mark Thompson will be the interim CEO for the Gage Center of Forensic Excellence.

Mark Thompson becomes Western State Hospital’s interim CEO for the Gage Center of Forensic Excellence

Thompson is currently WSH’s chief operating officer, and started working at WSH as a ward administrator in 2016. In 2018 he moved into the center director position for East Campus and Habilitative Mental Health, where he assisted in the initial steps to transition East Campus to a more forensic-focused population.

Prior to working at WSH, Thompson had several administrator and executive director positions in large-operation skilled nursing facilities in Illinois, Oregon and Washington. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wheaton College and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Northwestern University.

“We are excited to reach this huge milestone in the governor’s plan to transform our behavioral health system,” said Sean Murphy, DSHS assistant secretary for Behavioral Health Administration. “Both Charles and Mark are bright, forward-thinking individuals. They each have the knowledge and foresight to successfully lead Western State Hospital’s transformation.”

Visit DSHS’ website for more information about the Behavioral Health Administration.