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An Interview With Kim Strunk, Founder & Chief Of Clinical Strategy At Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers

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Below is our recent interview with Kim Strunk, Founder and Chief of Clinical Strategy at Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?

A: Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers is committed to providing the highest quality services and compassionate care for children with autism spectrum disorder, all with the goal of helping them lead their best lives while also simplifying the process for their families. We specialize in developing individualized, interdisciplinary programs through early intensive behavioral intervention, working with children as young as 15 months of age. A huge part of our mission is to expand access to life-enhancing, value-based autism services like applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy) into underserved communities, which we’ve been able to accomplish over the past 17 years with more than 100 centers across 12 states and more to come.

Q: Can you give us more insights into what makes your company unique?

A: Rather than treating a diagnosis, Hopebridge aims to personalize our programs to meet the needs of the whole child. What sets us apart is the full spectrum of pediatric services through our 360 Care model. Whether families are just dipping their toes into this community by testing for autism, or they already have an autism diagnosis and seek additional therapies, our Hopebridge Team aims to serve as a personal “tour guide” of sorts for each step of the journey.

By combining and customizing complementary services under one cohesive and collaborative program, we can help our kids build their skills from within our centers and into their homes. This model also allows us to take some pressure off our families and clinicians with unique offerings like insurance support, family guidance sessions and transition plans for school and beyond.

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Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: Even though we are one of the largest autism therapy providers in the nation, we are still able to maintain the same level of clinical quality and close-knit feel and with our families and team members that we had nearly two decades ago. Part of this is due to the positions and programs we put in place to evolve alongside the growth we’ve experienced.

Establishing new clinical director roles within the organization is one of the recent changes we implemented to uphold our commitment to clinical excellence within our centers and advancement for the field of ABA overall. Designed to serve as a guide, mentor and helping hand for our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and fellowship students, this new role adds another tier of support for clinicians and children, in addition to our regional BCBAs and regional center managers. Each of these clinical directors has their own smaller caseload, but spends much of their time on clinical oversight.

These new positions are just one piece of Hopebridge’s plan for expansion this year. We expect to have opened up to 30 new ABA therapy centers by the end of 2022, with the bulk of new clinics in Florida. This expansion has also opened hiring opportunities for Hopebridge, with plans to hire more than 4,000 employees this year alone.

Q: Can you give us insights into your services / locations / growth?

A: The Hopebridge service mix covers the full diversity of care for children with autism and developmental delays. Services include autism testing, ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and feeding therapy. Through 360 Care, most of our centers enable children to engage in treatment with all of their multidisciplinary therapists in one location. In-home services and telehealth support are also available, when needed.

Q: What trends in the rapidly changing marketplace excite your leadership team the most?

A: Being part of the evolution of the autism service industry over the past 17 years has been exciting. I’m happy to see the field’s push toward more individualized, patient-forward care, though for us at Hopebridge, this is nothing new. Safe and compassionate, child- and family-centric care has always been the core of our work.

From a hiring perspective, I’m thrilled by the desire from clinicians to find more value and education within a job. There is a nationwide shortage of behavioral health clinicians – estimated at more than 6,000 mental health professionals needed to satisfy the issue – and those who are in the field are looking for more from a career. Our leadership team knows that by investing in the highest level of talent, we are able to offer our patients top level care, so we’re honing in on this need for career development. Opportunities like grand rounds, company-sponsored CEUs, exclusive training opportunities, research partnerships and fieldwork programs are all part of our vision to attract and grow a pool of the best clinicians in the country.

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Q: What are some of the main objectives for your company in the year ahead and how do you plan to achieve them?

A: Our number-one driver is access to care. There is a shortage of services and if we’re going to continue to advocate for the autism population, that means continuing to expand our offering to the communities that need it most. For us, this includes not only opening in new locations, but also investing in talent development and education for both our current and potential team of clinicians.

To achieve this, we ramped up our value-based care this year by expanding our clinical division through new executive appointments, in addition to our clinical director positions. We are also upgrading our fellowship program for behavior analysis, enhancing our career advancement opportunities at all levels, and continuing to focus on clinical outcomes on a national level.

Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?

A: It’s no secret, but the best thing about our company is our people; our “Hopebridge Heroes,” as we call them. We are privileged to have such incredible, creative and caring team members who absolutely love what they do. They truly treat the children they serve like their own, collaborating with parents and caregivers on goals, and then celebrating every win with them along the way. I am constantly in awe of their drive to learn and do everything they can to help these kids increase independence so they can reach their fullest potential … while having a blast along the way.

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