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Women in Business 2021: Sabrina Trocchi, Wheeler

Sabrina Trocchi Employer: Wheeler Title: President & CEO See all Women in Business 2021 honorees
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Sabrina Trocchi is president and chief executive officer of Wheeler. In this role, she is responsible for the overall operation of the $85-million organization, offering integrated primary care, behavioral health, prevention/wellness, child welfare, community justice and special education services to over 50,000 people each year. Trocchi oversees Wheeler’s ongoing strategic direction to achieve its mission and ensure continued success. She is a noted expert on person-centered care, evidence-based practices, medication-assisted treatment for addiction, and today’s dynamic health care environment. She holds a PhD in public health from the University of Connecticut and a master’s in public administration from the University of Hartford.

What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

Throughout the pandemic, our commitment to supporting the individuals, families and communities we serve remained our priority. We quickly converted to telehealth, ensured access to critical services, collaborated to provide COVID testing and vaccinations, and opened a new Waterbury center, expanding primary care and behavioral healthcare across the lifespan.

What’s the next big goal you want to accomplish professionally?

Disparities in health and access to care persist across Connecticut, including in Wheeler’s health center communities. Addressing this systemic injustice is a significant priority, in addition to increasing the diversity and cultural responsiveness of our workforce and strengthening community-level approaches to improve health and health care for all.

What’s one of the biggest professional challenges you’ve overcome?

Four months into my role, we faced the pandemic together, testing everything I knew about leadership. My focus was on transparency and regular communication, keeping staff informed on how we were mitigating COVID, promoting information sharing to address concerns, and ensuring our patients had access to vital services.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to adapt as a leader?

The pandemic highlighted the importance of adaptive, servant leadership, rapid but thoughtful decision-making and transparent communication. This often required making decisions without having all the necessary information, and adapting new approaches rapidly to effectively meet urgent staffing, patient/client/student and community needs. COVID challenged everything we thought we knew.

Who has been your most important mentor and why?

I’ve been privileged to work with many exceptional leaders, notably Thomas A. Kirk Jr., the former commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. He was compassionate, caring and saw the “big picture,” mobilizing his team and a strategic vision focused on high-quality and effective care.

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