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Dr. Sara Coffey, recently named the Anne & Henry Zarrow Endowed Leadership Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at OSU Center for Health Sciences.
Dr. Sara Coffey, recently named the Anne & Henry Zarrow Endowed Leadership Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at OSU Center for Health Sciences.

OSU-CHS names Coffey chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences department

Friday, June 28, 2024

Media Contact: Monica Collington | Assistant Vice President, External Affairs and Strategic Communications | 918-561-1888 |

After a national search, OSU Center for Health Sciences has named Dr. Sara Coffey the Anne & Henry Zarrow Endowed Leadership Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. In this role, she will lead the psychiatry education strategy at the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine including OSU Medicine’s Behavioral Medicine clinic, and serve as the institution’s key liaison to local, state and national mental health entities. 

Dr. Coffey began her residency training at the University of Chicago and completed her fellowship training at Harvard Medical School. She received her medical degree from OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa where she returned to serve as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in 2017.

In the last five years, she also served as director of clinical operations for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division. 

Her work in Oklahoma behavioral health is extensive, from working with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health to serving on advisory committees aimed at educating legislators on the issues facing mental health care, presentations advocating for adolescents with mental health challenges and the importance of caring for the needs of the behavioral health care workforce.

Coffey is a frequent speaker at local, regional and national mental health conferences and is considered an expert on childhood trauma and emotional wellness in school settings. She is a published author in the American Journal of Psychiatry and who’s new book "Unpacked, A Psychiatrist Explores and Unpacks Our Collective Experience of the COVID Pandemic" is available for purchase online.

“After a thorough process of national scope, our search led us to the most highly qualified candidate right here at OSU-CHS,” said Dr. Johnny Stephens, president of OSU-CHS. “Dr. Coffey is the right person to oversee our program here as we continue to lead the way for behavioral medicine in the state of Oklahoma.”

The timing of her selection comes when mental health statistics are grim, both nationally and in Oklahoma. According to research by the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative, Oklahoma is severely behind the national average in behavioral health care providers, but particularly psychiatrists and psychologists.

In order to address this pressing need, OSU-CHS has partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, local philanthropists, the city of Tulsa and Tulsa County to build the new Oklahoma Psychiatric Care Center in downtown Tulsa, slated to open late 2025. The new hospital also will also dramatically increase residency slots for training new behavioral health professionals.

“The Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation has supported the growth of OSU’s department of psychiatry from nearly its start,” said Bill Major, Foundation president. “We are excited to watch and learn as Dr. Coffey’s vision takes the department to the next level. Roughly 75% of the program’s graduates now practice in Oklahoma, and we know that the mental health landscape in our state will benefit from her leadership.”  

“I am honored and humbled by this selection,” Coffey said. “Now more than ever, we need the right people at the table to address the mental health crisis we face as a city, state and nation. My team and I take very seriously our role in providing behavioral health care as well as preparing tomorrow’s psychiatrists to meet patients' needs with compassion and knowledge, and we look forward to collaborating with our partners to meet this need.”

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