SIMHS Chief Clinical Officer Receives Social Work Award

Honoree Libby Traynor (2nd left) is joined by SIMHS CEO Fern Zagor, left, her son and mother, holding hands, and co-workers at the awards ceremony.

Elizabeth (Libby) Traynor, SIMHS’s Chief Clinical Officer and Senior Vice President for Behavioral Health Services received the 8th Annual Mid-Career Exemplary Social Work Leader Award from the New York Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) on December 4, 2014. Ms. Traynor was honored for her “visionary and exemplary work, dedication and unique commitment to the social work profession,” during her 16 years at the Society.

The Society’s Behavioral Health Division is comprised of 14 mental health and related programs that last year served more than 3,600 children and teenagers, and their families. In her position as chief clinical officer, Ms. Traynor provides administrative and clinical guidance to all program directors, is responsible for all corporate compliance activities, works with all programs to secure and maintain certifications, writes grants, prepares reports, and assists the president in planning, organizing, and running a comprehensive agency that served more than 5,000 children and families last year.

Ms. Traynor was named SIMHS’s chief clinical officer in January 2013, hand-picked to work side-by-side with Fern A. Zagor, the then-new agency president, during difficult and turbulent times, primarily resulting from Medicaid reform, changes in the healthcare and fiscal environment, and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

According to Ms. Zagor, “Before Libby was to move into her new position, Hurricane Sandy hit, and while I was stuck at home in Rockaway for several days, she had already organized our staff and set a plan in motion to reach out to our clients and to help the Island’s storm-affected residents. She is a well-deserved recipient of the NASW award, with a proven record of leadership, creativity and initiative. She is a recognized leader among our colleagues and a successful advocate for children and families on Staten Island and throughout the city and state.”

Ms. Traynor joined SIMHS in 1998 as a senior social worker and supervisor at the agency’s St. George-based PASS and Teen Center programs, where she provided alcohol/substance abuse prevention and treatment services to adolescents. In 2006 she was promoted to director of both the On-Site School-Based Mental Health Program and the Summer Therapeutic Program, after serving as assistant director of both for the previous two years.

Ms. Traynor received a BA from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University. She attended Rutgers University for alcohol/substance abuse training and participated in the Executive Director Training Program at the Baruch College School of Public Service & Education & the Partnership for After-School Education. She has also served as co-chair of the NYC Citywide Committee of School-Based Mental Health Providers.

Ms. Traynor and her husband Toufik Kouider reside in St. George with their two children, Rayan,and Sarah.