Mount Nittany Health plays a key role in advancing the mental health crisis safety net in Centre County

December 15, 2020
4 min read


After the tragic death of Osaze Osagie last year during a law enforcement response to a mental health 302 warrant, the Task Force on Mental Health Crisis was formed. Tiffany Cabibbo, DSc, MSN, RN, CENP, executive vice president, patient care services and chief nursing officer, Mount Nittany Health and Brian Newcomb, MD, department chair, Mount Nittany Medical Center Emergency Department were appointed to the Task Force to help lead the efforts to evaluate Centre County's mental health system and the continuum of crisis intervention services.

"The Emergency Department is dedicated to providing comprehensive, compassionate care to individuals who are experiencing an acute mental health crisis. Serving on the Task Force builds upon this foundation and strengthens our partnerships with law enforcement and community organizations as we collectively work to address barriers to care and gaps in crisis intervention services," states Dr. Newcomb.

The thirty-two member Task Force engaged in systems process mapping, stakeholder interviews and workgroup research on four strategic areas including, crisis intervention services (mobile), delegate services, law enforcement and the emergency department. Through this research, the Task Force identified six interrelated themes – care, cultural responsiveness, communication, collaboration, coordination and consistency – that became the bedrock of several key recommendations to improve the continuum of care for individuals experiencing an acute crisis.

"While the Task Force was born out of tragedy, it offered stakeholders a critical opportunity to take a hard look at Centre County's mental health continuum of care. Together we identified strengths in our program as well as opportunities for advancements and improvements to our system. I'm incredibly proud of this work and the recommendations of the Task Force," states Cabibbo.

The Task Force officially presented their findings and key recommendations to the Centre County Commissioners this month.

Mount Nittany Health's most recent Community Health Needs Assessment identified behavioral health as one of the top three most pressing health issues facing our community. Behavioral health encompasses all contributors to a person's mental well-being, including mental health or biological components and behaviors or habits like substance abuse. For this reason the Mount Nittany Health Foundation has established a Behavioral Health Fund.

The Behavioral Health Fund is used by our medical center staff to provide care and support for patients admitted to the medical center with behavioral health needs. This fund is intended to be broad in scope and can address everything related to behavioral health care from training and staff development to materials, medication, and other support for patient needs. We also have an opportunity to use these funds to underpin partnerships and programs with other behavioral health providers in our community.

Mount Nittany Health Foundation donors make a difference. Our donors' generosity enables the growth of expertise, advances in lifesaving technology, program improvements, and facility upgrades that meet the unique needs of the communities we serve. Gifts directly support Mount Nittany Health's mission to make people healthier. To learn more about the Mount Nittany Health Foundation, visit or call 814.234.6777.

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