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Appreciating the past to
build the future

Silver Hill Hospital

It would be an understatement to say Silver Hill Hospital President and Medical Director Andrew Gerber, MD, PhD, is thrilled to have two past presidents to call on for advice.

Drs. Richard Frances and Sigurd Ackerman, whom Gerber calls “giants in the field,” have each accepted the honorary title of Senior Advisor to the President. In addition, the Silver Hill Board of Directors unanimously voted to name Frances and Ackerman as Presidents Emeriti. The past presidents returned to the Silver Hill campus earlier this year to attend a luncheon in their honor. 

Frances served as Medical Director from 1997 to 2003 and Ackerman served from 2003 to 2017.

“These are two highly esteemed leaders in the field of psychiatry and they led the hospital through some crucial times in our history,” Gerber says. “Rich had a profound impact on our standing, particularly with addiction, which is his area of expertise. Sig led the hospital through some enormous changes, particularly with our Transitional Living Programs and the renovation of most of the campus. He’s a beloved figure who helped define what the hospital is about. 

“For me to have the opportunity to turn to both of them for advice and council is just incredibly valuable for me,” he adds. “I’m here for the long haul and they represent a bridge to the past to add that stability.”

The luncheon gave Frances and Ackerman the opportunity to reflect on their time at Silver Hill. Ackerman thanked the Board of Directors for granting him the freedom to make changes – in programming and the remodeling of buildings – that he deemed necessary to elevate Silver Hill.

“Silver Hill has meant a great deal to me,” Ackerman reminisced. “I’ve done a lot of different things over time and at Silver Hill it all came together. This was a 14-year experience that allowed me to be who I was and do whatever I could do in a setting that was totally supportive.” 

Silver Hill board member Lance Lundberg called Ackerman “one of the finest human beings I’ve had the pleasure to meet.” Ackerman is a profound listener and always available, Lance said. 

Lisa Benton, Silver Hill’s Chief Quality Officer, praised Frances for the kindness and compassion he brought to the role of president. 

Frances acknowledged that Silver Hill’s clinical staff is in a position of great power when entrusted to care for a patient who is away from his or her family and dealing with a lot of pain in a difficult time. Silver Hill staff, he said, is always wise and patient in its approach to treatment. 

“This hospital is all about community,” Frances said. “One of the communities that is very important is the board. They are committed and supportive of recruiting great people like Andrew. It’s the board, it’s the staff — the community here has always made patients feel valuable and comfortable.” 

The coming together of three presidents, past and present, is another example of how your support of Silver Hill helps us learn from the past to make a better present and future.