Harold Robert (Bob) Sharpe, MSW, who created the initial vision for the FSU Center for Behavioral Health Integration, died on December 23, 2015. Bob devoted his career and retirement to health care work for the underserved. He founded the FSU Center for Behavioral Health Integration by establishing a partnership between the FSU College of Medicine Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine Department and the Florida Council for Community Mental Health. Bob created a vision and strategic plan for the Center for Behavioral Health Integration that aimed to improve the integration of mental and behavioral health education, training, research and clinical care into primary healthcare. Bob’s work and ideas were vital to the creation of the Center.
Bob also served on the Maternal Mental Health Community Advisory Board, working closely with the FSU Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine and several leaders and stakeholders in the community. Bob’s wealth of experience in health care provided immeasurable and valuable guidance for the work of the FSU Center and for our Mental Health initiatives and programs.
Bob served as president and chief executive officer of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health and its advocacy organization, the Florida Council for Behavioral Healthcare. The Councils represent nearly 60 community-based behavioral health treatment organizations throughout Florida. He joined the Council in 2004, following a distinguished career in Florida government. He obtained his master’s degree in social work from Florida State University and a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Florida State University. He began his career as a social worker in Washington, D.C. in 1970, and soon moved to Florida, where his career in health and human services has encompassed a number of positions in the field of health and human services.
Immediately prior to taking the helm of the two behavioral health associations, Bob served as Deputy Secretary for Medicaid at the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Prior to heading up Florida’s Medicaid Program, he served as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Medicaid and Director of Health Policy at the Agency. Earlier in his career, Bob served in a number of key positions at the former Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. These include director of the Office of Health Planning and Chief of the Medicaid Program Analysis Bureau.
Bob had an incredible passion for creating programs and policies to improve quality care for individuals living with mental illness in Florida. He worked tirelessly into his retirement. Bob’s vision and passion will continue to guide the work of the FSU Center for Behavioral Health Integration, and will carry us forward in our efforts to improve suffering among the underserved for years to come. He will be greatly missed.