Citizen Architect Profile: Jeffrey Sackenheim, AIA

Jeffrey Sackenheim, AIA, President of the Board, CHNK Behavioral Health (aka Children’s Home of NKY)

Firm and Role: Vice President, Architecture at SHP

What is the purpose of the organization where you are involved? 

CHNK Behavioral Health’s mission is to be a trauma-informed healthcare organization focused on creating holistic partnerships for health and wellness that are inclusive, innovative and inspiring. Founded in 1882 as a traditional orphanage for youth, the organization has evolved with changing community needs. CHNK now provides trauma-informed mental health and addiction treatment services to nearly 4,000 children, adolescents, adults and families in crisis each year.

Why did you choose to get involved? 

CHNK’s mission is very personal to me: I have close family members that have struggled with mental health issues throughout their lives. My wife and I are personally invested in trying to help remove the stigmas around mental health and improve resources and access to care within the community.

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the commission? 

I started my tenure with CHNK as a Real Estate and Facilities Committee Subject Matter Expert on the Board. CHNK currently operates out of three facilities and we are routinely planning for the future of our facilities. This includes updating our rolling 3-year capital improvements plan, undertaking routine maintenance and repairs, and strategically thinking about how our facilities can continue to evolve to provide the highest level of care and treatment to our clients. We routinely work with outside construction partners, vendors, engineers, and other architects. I’m really proud of the fact that CHNK fully recognizes the positive link between a well-designed space and its ability to help improve a client’s personal journey as part of a safe and therapeutic environment.

How has serving in this role benefits you as an architect? 

I’ve met some really amazing and dedicated people first and foremost. People that give selflessly to help others. Secondly, it does bring me joy to know that in some small way I’ve been able to help make a young kid’s life a little bit brighter. A lot of the kids we serve have really difficult back-stories and home lives. I can’t imagine what that must be like. The cards are stacked against you from the day you were born. I feel blessed to have had the upbringing and opportunities that I did. Just knowing that I can now leverage my experience as an architect to help others is the biggest benefit.

How much time and effort does your role require? 

I’ve been on the Board for about 4-years now and my term as President of the Board will last for about another 2-years. We meet as an EXCOM each week and as a full Board about every other month. There are periodic meetings that might pop up in between as certain initiatives or issues come up. I’d say that I give about 3-hours per week on average right now. It’s like anything else – the more you put in, the more you get out. Ultimately, we are really looking for Board members that want to be active contributors to help us deliver our mission, not just add something to your resume.

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in similar commissions? 

Without a doubt: YES! I believe it’s in most of our DNA to want to help out when and where we can. I believe most architects and designers are fundamentally invested in making the world a more equitable, resilient, and beautiful place. Getting involved in the community is a great way to do just that. It’s really rewarding and does make a difference. Lastly, I’m really proud and thankful that I’m a part of a firm that fully embraces and supports this type of service, especially in times of uncertainty and unrest like we’ve witnessed over the last 12-months.


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Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

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