Eagle County’s Chris Lindley tapped to lead Eagle Valley Behavioral Health
Eagle Valley Behavioral Health has appointed Chris Lindley as executive director of the newly formed nonprofit.
As the current director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment, Lindley has been instrumental in leading the local behavioral health initiative by building a collaborative approach to addressing gaps in care. His health background, a career of service and a passion for helping others made Lindley the top choice for the position. Lindley was recently awarded the local Chief’s Community Partnership Award 2019 for vision, passion and can-do attitude in bringing the Hope Center to the Eagle River Valley.
“In my professional and personal experience, I’ve never met someone as enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated to behavioral health as Chris Lindley,” said Vail Health President and CEO Will Cook in a release announcing the hiring. “Chris will bring a solid understanding of the community’s needs, great leadership and incredible energy to this role. I am thrilled to further work with him and see the vision for Eagle Valley Behavioral Health become a reality.”
Big shoes to fill
Lindley will leave his position as the director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment in July but will continue to collaborate with the county to bring world-class behavioral health prevention, education, and services to the valley.
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“I look forward to a continued partnership with the county commissioners, Eagle County Manager Jeff Shroll, Eagle County Public Health and Human Services and all the other talented team members of Eagle County Government as we work together to solve our behavioral health crisis,” Lindley said in a news release. “I am beyond proud to lead this effort, but the work cannot be done by Eagle Valley Behavioral Health alone—we will need the continued support and leadership of Eagle County, Vail Health, police, fire, emergency medical services, schools, government, providers, nonprofits and the entire community.”
“We are grateful for the contributions Chris made as director of public health and environment,” Shroll said. “Chris is an exceptional leader and human being, and he is truly the perfect person to build Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and transform the local behavioral health landscape.” Shroll will sit on the Board of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, working closely with Lindley.
Before moving to Eagle County, Lindley founded and built two successful fitness and wellness companies across 10 locations, including Endorphin in Eagle. He was a professional firefighter in Denver, where he graduated from the fire academy as class valedictorian and a top recruit. He was assigned to the busiest fire station in the state with more than 6,500 calls a year and was a member of the swift water, high angle, collapse, and underwater rescue special operations, teams.
Lindley was the prevention services director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, where he directed Colorado’s wellness, workplace and public health prevention strategies; supported research, educational campaigns, policy efforts and federal/state initiatives; and built strong coalitions with public health professionals, policymakers, state government partners, residents and key stakeholders. His experience and connections will greatly serve Eagle Valley Behavioral Health moving forward.
Lindley holds a master’s of public health, a master’s in the science of epidemiology and a master’s of business administration. He was a unit commander and environmental science officer of preventive medicine in the 793rd Medical Detachment of the US Army Medical Reserves. Among many awards and a presidential commendation, he received the Bronze Star Medal for saving multiple lives during a suicide bomber attack that demanded the treatment of 91 injured soldiers while leading troops in Iraq.
“Many of us grew up wanting to change the world,” said Lindley. “My goal is to change the way we look at and treat behavioral health in the Eagle River Valley.”
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.