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New leadership posts build on legacy of innovation


MALONE, N.Y. – Citizen Advocates is pleased to announce it has recruited two local healthcare professionals for its leadership team to carry on a legacy of innovation in Intellectual/Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health services.

As it focuses its mission as a whole-health organization, Citizen Advocates is reorganizing its services under three primary banners: Health Operations, Community Living and Community Support.  Each of these three areas will continue to offer the same services the organization has always provided, which include a blend of both Intellectual/Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health services.

“The North Country is an amazing source of smart, talented and resilient healthcare professionals,” said James Button, CEO of Citizen Advocates.  “By recruiting locally and developing the skills of our own workforce, we are building a strong foundation for becoming an employer of choice and leading provider of exceptional services.”

Community Support

To take the lead of Community Support, Citizen Advocates recruited a skilled human services professional from county government. Heather Wenzel began her career as a Direct Support Professional, aiding programs that served individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for many years.

Heather Wenzel

Most recently, Heather served as the Deputy Commissioner of Social Services for St. Lawrence County after holding several progressive leadership positions within that department.

As the Director of Community Support Operations for Citizen Advocates, Heather is heading up programs and services that connect individuals with Care Coordination, Affirmative Businesses, School and Community Prevention, Day and Community Habilitation, Supported Work, Community Clubs, and Self-Direction. 

Many of the services are the result of a referral or part of a treatment plan through Intellectual/Developmental Disability or Behavioral Health services.  This requires a great deal of collaboration with team leaders throughout Citizen Advocates, including the new leader of Health Operations.

Heather resides in Hopkinton with her son Julian. They enjoy time at the lake, downhill skiing, and football.

Health Operations

Heading up Health Operations is a familiar face at Citizen Advocates.  Stefan Schumacher, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has been with the Citizen Advocates family since 2001. He began his career as an Intensive Case Manager and worked his way through the ranks to become Practice Manager and Lead Clinician at the Behavioral Health Clinic in Malone.

Stefan Schumacher

As the Director of Health Operations, Stefan is responsible for all clinical operations to include staffing, certification, program development, community networking and special projects. 

Stefan resides in Bellmont with his wife Michelle, the parents of two sons, Guthrie and Hans.  In their spare time, they enjoy the Adirondacks by foot and by paddle, soccer and spending time with family.

Citizen Advocates is grateful for the leadership and experience Heather and Stefan bring to these positions.