In Memoriam: Charles Ray

In Memoriam: Charles Ray

Macro of burning candle isolated on black background

RCPA regrets to inform our members that Charles Ray, former President/CEO for the National Council, has passed away. In his long and remarkable career, Charles effected broad changes in the behavioral health field, of which the impact is long-lasting and felt by many. Please see the message below from Chuck Ingoglia, current President and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. The RCPA staff would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Charles’ family, colleagues, peers, and the rest of the behavioral health community.

One of the many things that makes the National Council special is our people. Today I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of a former employee who served with distinction.

Former President & Chief Executive Officer Charles Ray led the National Council for 15 years. He was a visionary leader of the managed care movement within the mental health community. After he left the National Council, Charles went on to work with and lead several organizations, most recently serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of The REACH Institute in New York, whose mission is to bring evidence based behavioral treatment to children and adolescents.

He was a wonderful leader, but don’t just take my word for it.

Carl Clark, a former National Council Board member, also remembered Charles fondly:
Charles Ray understood community behavioral health deeply from his running a center to the policy work he did through the National Council in Washington. He kept the needs of the people we serve and providers as the focus for making behavioral health services better in our country. I am thankful for his leadership and the lasting impact of his work.

Betty Funk, former National Council Board member, provided this thoughtful remembrance:
In the early days, Charles was a visionary leader of the managed care movement within the community mental health arena. It was a challenging time for all of us because we didn’t fit neatly into the complex health systems that needed to get geared up, and for the most part at the community level nationwide, we lacked comprehensive structure among ourselves. Through the National Council, and to some extent privately, Charles held the hands of all of us that got the message that we had to restructure and reorganize and learn how to collaborate, cooperative, count and compete. From the perspective of the Massachusetts system, Charles nurtured the creation of the best management practices that exist today.

His lasting impact can be seen in many aspects of the work we continue to do, and we ask that you keep his family, friends and loved ones in your thoughts during this difficult time.

Rest in Peace, Charles.

– Chuck


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