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James Button selected as CEO of Citizen Advocates


Citizen Advocates is proud to announce its next CEO is someone well known within the organization and the community.

James Button, who has been COO since July, 2017, was unanimously selected for the top leadership position by the organization’s Board of Directors.

James Button, CEO

“Citizen Advocates has a tremendously talented and compassionate workforce,” said Nicholas Eells, interim President of the Board of Directors. “But it also takes strong leadership to manage a highly complex healthcare organization on a daily basis, which is why we are fortunate to have someone like James who is a skilled leader who has worked hard to earn the trust and respect of employees and those we support.”

Mr. Button has held several progressive leadership positions with Citizen Advocates extending over a decade, and briefly stepped away from the organization in 2016 to serve as Behavioral Health Initiatives Director for the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors in Albany. He also helped develop the Northwinds Integrated Health Network, of which Citizen Advocates is a proud partner.

“This is an exciting time to be at Citizen Advocates, and in the communities we serve around New York State,” said Mr. Button. “We continue to strengthen partnerships, and expand access to a broad range of clinical services and supports that promote individual health through stable housing, job training and transportation.”

In addition to COO, Mr. Button served as the Director of Corporate Compliance and Quality Assurance, Children’s Residential Coordinator at the Adirondack Youth Lodge, and various Community Support Services roles.

During his tenure at the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors in Albany, he collaborated with multiple state government healthcare agencies to advance a variety of statewide behavioral health initiatives involving Medicaid Managed Care and the transition to Value Based Payments.

Mr. Button also has extensive experience in the clinical setting as a psychiatric crisis clinician, social worker, and forensic psycho-social evaluator. His educational background includes master’s degrees in Clinical Social Work and Education, and a Professional Certificate in Health Care Administration from the University of Vermont Center for Leadership and Innovation.

As CEO, Mr. Button will draw on his deep clinical and policy experience in the continuous search for new pathways to enhance quality of care, build healthier communities, and an array of services that support positive health outcomes for individuals served by Citizen Advocates.  The key to this, he notes, is the organization’s highly-skilled employees.

“Our workforce of over 800 strong are some of the best and the brightest in the industry, and I firmly believe that they are the reason we have enjoyed our successes thus far,” Mr. Button stated.  “That said, we do not believe that we have a monopoly on top talent – instead, we want people considering employment with Citizen Advocates to join our team because we prioritize compassionate care, we have a supportive company culture and we share an optimism for the future.  I’m grateful to be in this position and honored to champion this effort.”

Originally from Canton, Mr. Button and his wife Camelia, along with their sons Ben and Jacob, reside in the Town of Malone.  In their spare time they like to give back to the community, spend time with friends, go to the lake and ski at Titus Mountain.