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Crotched Mountain

no. 1-0084

for the State mental health institutions and eventually for community programs. Under his leadership, the mental health system in New Hampshire was ultimately able to access over $1 billion in Medicaid funding.

After twelve years as Director, Shumway left state government and became co-director of the “Self-Determination for Persons with Developmental Disabilities” program at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Three years later, Governor Shaheen appointed him to be the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the State’s largest agency with over 3,400 employees. In addition to mental health services, Shumway was responsible for Medicaid, elder services, public assistance, drug treatment and prevention, public health and juvenile services. With a change of administrations, in the summer of 2002, Shumway left the New Hampshire State Government and became the President and CEO of Crotched Mountain and the Crotched Mountain Foundation. When you talk with staff people at Crotched Mountain about Shumway, you hear words like, “genius” and “we love Don”.

Gentle Teaching and Rehab Services

The history of the treatment of people with mental disabilities in the United States is filled with horror stories, especially at State run mental institutions. Shumway keeps in his office a straight jacket which used to be the typical way that mental institutions kept people with disabilities under control. Even at Crotched Mountain in the 1980s and 1990s, the staff routinely used “four point pining” on the floor, when children got upset and began acting out. In mental institutions around the country it was not unusual to find cattle prods, unheated isolation cells and an over-reliance on drugs.

Since its founding Crotched has always been at the forefront of dealing with its clients in a more humane and personalized way, reflecting the latest research. When Shumway got to Crotched Mountain he brought in a consultant named Jan Holland to help Crotched Mountain adopt the latest techniques. As Holland explained, even seemingly harmless techniques like reinforcing good behavior with m&m’s creates an imbalanced relationship between the client and the staff person. What Gentle Teaching is about is creating the appropriate atmosphere and the right mutual caring relationship so that staff can become more of a coach and less of a task master. As this technique has taken hold at Crotched Mountain, Shumway has lengthened the training and orientation program for all new staff so that everyone reinforces Gentle Teaching. Shumway also proudly pointed out that not only have the papoose boards and other restraining devices disappeared, but over the last year Crotched Mountain has even eliminated the padded “time out” rooms.

On the rehabilitation side, Crotched Mountain has significantly upgraded its capabilities, particularly in its Brain Injury Center and Children’s Hospital. By adding additional medical staff (including four additional doctors) and providing more training to existing personnel, both of these programs are now able to treat patients at an earlier point in their recovery. “The average time from accident to admission at the Brain Injury Center has been reduced from eleven weeks to four weeks,” Shumway explained.

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth


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