DOC secretary participates in ceremony honoring former colleague

July 27, 2022

By Tyler Hemstreet

Department of Social and Health Services

Left to right, DSHS Behavioral Health Administration Deputy Secretary Kevin Bovenkamp, ​​National Association on Mental Illness Representative Jim Bloss, DSHS Secretary Jilma Meneses, DOC Secretary Cheryl Strange and DOC Deputy Secretary Sean Murphy with the plaque commemorating Dr. Bruce Gage during a ceremony dedicating the West State Hospital Gage Center of Forensic Excellence to the former DSHS and DOC psychiatrist. (Bill Bungard, Department of Health and Social Services)

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The Center for Forensic Services at Western State Hospital was officially and formally renamed on July 11 at a dedication ceremony in honor of the late Dr. Bruce Gage.

Patients, families, staff and visitors to the Gage Center for Forensic Excellence will now be greeted with a custom sign made by the Washington State Department of Corrections and a plaque that recognizes and celebrates Gage’s work in the treatment of patients and focuses on their positive outcomes.

Speakers at the event included Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Jilma Meneses, Department of Corrections Secretary Cheryl Strange, Gage Center Executive Director Mark Thompson, Dr. Indra Finch (widow of Dr. Gage) and Jim Bloss, a longtime friend of Gage is from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Gage, who died in 2021, was the chief psychiatrist at Western State Hospital from 2003 to 2008 before serving as chief of psychiatry for the Department of Corrections from 2008 to 2021.

“During the doctor’s tenure at Western, he embodied all the qualities of a successful leader,” Meneses said. “In addition to his expertise in forensic psychiatry, he was known to be kind, driven, inclusive and collegial.”

“Dr. Gage set an example for those he worked with by truly getting to know his patients and adopting a bedside attitude that exuded genuine compassion.

Over the course of Gage’s career, he has received numerous awards and honors, including the Washington Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management in 2010. The plaque on the rock right next to the new sign will help keep his memory alive for generations. futures, Thompson said. .

“The rock itself is a symbol of the enduring and lasting legacy Dr. Gage has had and will continue to have on our patients and staff,” Thompson said. “We hope that establishing a space where staff can sit and relax next to the rock will encourage us all to remember their contributions every day as we come in and out.”

Department of Corrections Assistant Secretary Sean Murphy and DSHS Assistant Secretary for Behavioral Health Administration Kevin Bovenkamp unveiled the new sign designating the building as the Gage Center of Forensic Excellence. Strange and Murphy, who both came to DOC after DSHS, worked with Gage at Western State Hospital.

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