Shari VanderGast, Esq., LCSW, FACHE, is Senior Vice President for Operations, overseeing day-to-day operations within Diakon Senior Living Services and Human Resources and both operations and business development for Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries, the organization offering a wide range of services for children, youths, families and communities.
Ms. VanderGast joined Diakon in 2015 as Senior Vice President for Operations & Business Development for Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries, as well as Chief Compliance Officer. In her role within the newly created child and family services organization, she oversaw rapid expansion of programs and achievement of both evidence-based metrics and financial stability and growth. She was named Senior Vice President for Operations, assuming overall responsbility for human resources as well, in early 2018. Later in the year, she was promoted to her current role, overseeing daily operations of Diakon’s senior living services as well. Compliance oversight was then shifted to another staff member.
Ms. VanderGast previously served as Chief Executive Officer of Central Mental Health, a community mental health center in the Philadelphia area. Before joining that organization, she was Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Access Services, a behavioral health-care organization that includes outdoor programming and adoption and foster care services, and was responsible for program and quality management, human resources, facility planning, financial operations and information technology. She also led a staff initiative that resulted in a "best-place-to-work" designation by the regional business journal.
Earlier in her career, she oversaw an employee assistance program, worked in home-based services for two organizations including the Philadelphia Geriatric Center, served as Administrative Director of Behavioral Health for a hospital and as Patient Safety Officer and Administrative Director for a health system.
Ms. VanderGast has a bachelor's degree in Human Resources from Cornell University and a Master's in Social Work degree from Columbia University, as well as a Juris Doctorate with concentration in health care law from Temple University. She is a licensed clinical social worker and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She also is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management, a designation provided by the American Hospital Association. The author of several articles on behavioral health and a contributing author for a textbook, she is involved in a number of community organizations.
Ms. VanderGast works in Diakon's Ministry Support office in Topton and can be reached at (610) 682-1293.