Press Release: VCPI appoints Alex Lehning as their new Executive Director

By Amy Stonoha  |  February 10, 2021  |  Featured News

Williston, VT ~ The Vermont Cooperative for Practice Improvement & Innovation, an affiliate of Northern Vermont University, is pleased to announce the appointment of Alex Lehning as the organization’s fourth Executive Director. Founded in 2013, VCPI is focused on practice improvement and training, consulting around workforce development, and piloting innovative projects designed to positively impact the state’s system of mental health care.


“On behalf of the entire NVU community, I extend a warm welcome to Alex Lehning,” said NVU President Elaine C. Collins. “He brings a depth of experience to this role that will surely be drawn upon as VCPI, in part through the USDA Rural Utilities grant NVU was recently awarded, broadens its telepresence connectivity to expand access to education and services through this critical statewide hub.”


“I am pleased to join in this vital work along with an outstanding team of practitioners, educators, professionals, and advocates for a healthier Vermont,” said Lehning. “During these difficult times, we all recognize that community and connectivity are more important than ever. The need for accessible resources and integrated support is especially critical for those who are impacted by mental health and substance use disorder challenges.”


Lehning has worked in the non-profit sector for over a decade, in both cultural heritage and health & human services organizations. He holds a BA in History from the University of Maine, an MA in History from the University of Vermont, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Marlboro Graduate College. He trained as a death doula, and has experience as a community healthcare and hospice volunteer. Lehning is also a member of the Board of Directors for Age Well, a Red Cross volunteer, and Clerk of the St. Albans City Historic Preservation Commission. Most recently, he served as the Executive Director of the Saint Albans Museum.


“Our call to collaborative action is clear,” said Lehning. “I look forward to helping VCPI foster a shared vision for equitable and engaged mental health care which values a whole-person and multi-system approach.”


Throughout 2021, VCPI will facilitate a variety of programs for both members and the broader mental health field to explore opportunities in implementing effective and efficient strategies for systems as well as services. Plans are in development for virtual training sessions, outreach to students and new professionals, and other initiatives. These efforts are designed to bridge connections between agencies, providers, hospitals, funders and community organizations through a comprehensive learning management system.


“VCPI has been instrumental in bringing high quality and affordable best practices training to community mental health centers. When clinicians are able to provide better treatment, we all benefit,” said Susan Swindell, Director of DBT Services at Washington County Mental Health Services.


In addition to facilitating training opportunities, educational networks, and communities of practice, VCPI is also committed to advocacy and social justice initiatives as well as improved accessibility for mental health services.


“I have been involved in VCPI’s Anti-Racism workgroup from its inception,” said Kheya Ganguly, Assistant Director for Youth and Family Services at United Counseling Services. “Because VCPI is a cooperative, it enables us to work across disciplines and areas of need to effect change for BIPOC who face additional barriers to receiving appropriate service. I look forward to continuing this essential life-saving work with Alex’s support.”


VCPI’s nonprofit mission is to lead a statewide community partnership promoting innovation, practice improvement, implementation and workforce development to enhance and improve the experiences and outcomes of individuals and families experiencing mental health and substance use conditions. Our vision is to partner as a statewide cooperative learning community inspiring hope, wellness, resilience and recovery for Vermonters experiencing mental health and substance use conditions. To learn more about VCPI or to become a member, visit


Northern Vermont University is a two-campus institution of higher education that combines the best of our campuses’ nationally recognized liberal arts and professional programs. At Northern Vermont University, our goal is to guide curious, motivated, and engaged students on their paths to success and their places in the world. Our distance learning division, NVU Online, offers flexible, affordable, high-quality options for learners pursuing their bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as certificates. NVU offers a full range of associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as credit and non-credit certificates and professional development courses. Learn more at


VCPI ED Announcement 2-10-21Press Release




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