Dr. Robert E. Simpson, Jr., President

Dr. Simpson is a seasoned healthcare professional, executive and consultant who has served in a variety of senior executive leadership positions throughout his career. From 2006 to January 2016 he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric hospital founded in 1834 and a member of the original Ivy League hospitals. At the Retreat he led a significant turnaround that saw the organization become ranked by Modern Healthcare magazine as number 12 on its 2015 list of the 15 largest behavioral health providers in the United States.

Prior to joining the Retreat, Dr. Simpson served as CEO of Arbour Hospital, a member of the Universal Health Services, Inc., in Boston; Chief Operating Officer of Behavioral Healthcare and Sr. Vice President of Government Relations at the Sisters of Providence Health System; and Vice President of Behavioral Health and Cancer Services at Baystate Health System in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Additionally, Dr. Simpson has served in leadership roles on Boards of Directors:

  • Vermont Business Roundtable – Vice Chair (2012-15, Board Secretary (2011)
  • Vermont Association of Hospitals & Health Systems Inc. – Vice-President of the Board, Secretary-Treasurer of the Board, Chair of the Mental Health Committee, Chair Bylaws Committee (2006-2015) of the 
  • Zen Peacemakers International, Inc. – Co-Chair Board of Trustees, Chair Finance Committee (2006-2009)   

Dr. Simpson has received numerous citations for leadership service:

  •  2005 & 2006 Official Citations from the Massachusetts State House and Senate for his “Dedication to the Profession of Mental Health & Endless Assistance to the People of Western Massachusetts.”
  • 2011,  named as an American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion which “Singles out one hospital leader from each state who, over the previous year, effectively delivered the hospital message to elected officials; helped broaden the base of community support for hospitals; and advocated tirelessly on behalf of patients, hospitals and the community served.”
  • 2012 he received the Founder’s Award from the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, “Given to a member of the community who enhances the economic vitality of the region.”
  • 2014 Behavioral Healthcare Champion by Behavioral Healthcare Magazine, chosen for his “unique brand of dedication, courage, inspiration and excellence as a behavioral healthcare leader.”
  • 2015 he received the Southern Vermont Leadership Award for Excellence in Economic Development “Given in Recognition of sustained and effective efforts to mobilize leadership in the development of programs and projects, planning and designing of new and creative economic development activities, and deep commitment as a leader and advocate for economic development in southern Vermont.”

Known as a passionate advocate for individuals suffering from psychiatric and addictive illness, Dr. Simpson could be heard for nearly a decade on the weekly radio show, “Keep Talking”, on WPTL 107.7-The Pulse covering topics ranging from the neurobiology of addiction and depression to the prevention and treatment of suicide.

His publications include articles and Op-Ed’s have spoken to important and critical issues in the public arena related to healthcare reform, gun violence and the need for specialized programs for uniform personal experiencing post-traumatic stress.

As a patent owner who has developed a medical device that addresses the unique interface of pain management and infection, he has experience in the process of taking an innovative idea through field trials to FDA approval and the legal processes of licensing.

Dr. Simpson is a graduate of Amherst College (BA), Simmons College (MSW), Harvard University (MPH), and the University of Utah (DSW).