Teresa Garate
Teresa Garate

Teresa Garate, Ph.D.


Health Management Associates

Chicago, IL

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Teresa Garate is an experienced and innovative leader with over 30 years of experience leading systems change, innovation and growth in the complex environments of public health, healthcare, public education, higher education and government.

In her career, she has been recruited because of her keen ability to quickly identify gaps in existing processes, connect with varied stakeholders, address conflicting priorities, and build consensus on business transforming strategies. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, program development, program evaluation, and operational design in behavioral health, substance use disorders and addiction treatment, school-based health services, hospital and health systems, and public health. Before joining Health Management Associates, Teresa was a C-Suite executive for several large national substance use disorder (SUD) and behavioral health (BH) health systems. Most recently, she was the executive vice president of strategy, development and growth, with Rogers Behavioral Health System, where she led the development of a multi-disciplinary division, encompassing government relations, national policy, payor contracting, marketing, communications, business development and real estate development. Teresa launched the organization’s first national, state and local government relations strategy, restructured the business development department to pursue strategic sales and positioned the organization for national advocacy through national alliances and campaigns.

Teresa also served as senior vice president of strategic partnerships and engagement for the Gateway Foundation, a national non-profit serving people with substance use disorders in nine states. She led the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic, leveraging local and state partnerships, acquiring PPE, ensuring timely delivery of vaccinations and securing over $25 million in state and federal grants over five years.

Teresa was an Illinois state officer in Governor Pat Quinn’s cabinet, serving as the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. As a senate confirmed appointee, she was responsible for managing all of the agency’s day-to-day operations, including providing guidance and oversight for the state’s 96 local health departments serving 102 counties. She assumed the lead position on developing Medicaid initiatives and healthcare regulations, including navigating the impact on hospitals and long-term care facilities, and drove the completion of a legislatively mandated state health improvement plan. Prior to this, Teresa was chief of staff for the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Specialized Services, leading school redesign, strategic district-wide initiatives, and public information initiatives focused on special education, juvenile justice, and disability access.

Teresa has served on numerous non-profit boards, including being a founding board member of Kennedy Forum Illinois, with a national focus on ending stigma and achieving parity for behavioral health. She has also served on the Illinois Board of Higher Education and is currently the Vice Chair for the Illinois Community College Board.

Teresa earned her Doctor of Philosophy and her Master of Education in special education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her bachelors’ degrees in applied psychology and special education from Loyola University of Chicago.

When she’s not at work, Teresa enjoys taking long walks, reading, and traveling, especially back to South America, where her family is from. She has two adult children and resides in a northern suburb of Chicago with her long-time partner and their dog, Charlie.