Debbian has spent her career both clinically and administratively addressing the needs of medically underserved populations. With undergraduate degrees in both chemistry and nursing, Debbian is a master’s prepared family nurse practitioner with board certification.
Debbian began her career as an FNP at the Institute for Family Health, soon rising to the position of Medical Director, overseeing the operations of nine clinics serving those experiencing homelessness. For nine years, Debbian filled leadership positions at Care for the Homeless (CFH) in New York City, ultimately serving as the Assistant Executive Director, responsible for the overall functioning of the agency, a 200- bed homeless shelter and 24 integrated primary care service sites. Among the highlights of her tenure was the successful integration of behavioral health and primary care; a major role in negotiating the migration of homeless clients in NYS from a fee for service environment to managed care; major contribution to the current NYS’s small clinic guidelines; and the writing of federal and foundation grants at a success rate exceeding 95%.
Debbian then spent two years as the Chief Operating Officer at Morris Heights Health Center (HHC) in the Bronx, a federally qualified health center (FQHC) serving 53,000 patients annually. Under her leadership 340B program revenues increased from $80k to $1.5 million annually; collaborations with numerous community partners were achieved as executive leader of the DSRIP program; and MHHC’s reach was expanded through the addition of three new service sites and initiation of buprenorphine treatment in primary care.
Currently, Debbian serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Vocational Instruction Project Community Services, Inc. (VIP), a community-based healthcare provider of primary care, mental health, addiction services, housing, shelter, vocational services and care coordination in the Bronx. During her tenure she has expanded medication-assisted treatments in both the substance use programs and the agency’s FQHC; expanded services to include pediatric and specialty care; and developed partnerships with the Bronx district attorney’s office.
Parallel with her administrative career, Debbian has continued to provide clinical services, including treatment for substance abuse and currently serves as a buprenorphine provider for VIP. This care has taken place in a variety of community settings such as shelters, a mobile clinic, FQHCs and prisons. Debbian served as the chair of the Homeless Clinicians Network of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council providing guidance to clinicians nationally on clinical protocols to integrate behavioral health and primary care for persons experiencing homelessness.
She serves on numerous boards including hospital, behavioral health and primary care organizations. Named one of Crain’s Notable Women in Healthcare for 2019, she is also the recipient of the 2019 Phillip Brickner award from the Community Health Care Association of New York State, given for her outstanding clinical and administrative services for underserved populations.