Gaudenzia Names Dr. Deja Gilbert CEO

Deja Gilbert, PhD, LMHC, LPC, FACHE, a change leader and veteran executive in the treatment of substance use disorder, has been named president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Gaudenzia, Inc., the first woman to hold the role in its 55-year history.

At Gaudenzia, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring conditions, Dr. Gilbert will lead a multistate agency of 1,200 healthcare professionals who treat more than 15,000 clients a year during a time when the SUD crisis is dominating the lives of millions of families and fatal overdoses are at record levels.

“I’m excited to join an organization that is laser-focused on its mission of promoting long-term recovery, regardless of individual circumstances,” said Dr. Gilbert. “Gaudenzia has been a transformative organization dedicated to meeting the needs of those we serve for over half a century, and I’m honored to build upon that legacy with our expert staff to help save more lives.”

Dr. Gilbert was chosen to lead Gaudenzia, Inc. and the Gaudenzia Foundation after an extensive national search conducted by the organization’s board of directors. She brings senior-level expertise in behavioral healthcare, emphasizing patient-focused and data-driven care. In her previous positions, she built new infrastructure and expanded treatment and services, while prioritizing client care as well as staff development and retention. Dr. Gilbert succeeds Dr. Dale Klatzker, who announced his planned retirement this past fall.

Dr. Gilbert joins the organization during a critical time in the addiction public health crisis where over 40 million Americans had an SUD in 2020 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Over the past five years, Gaudenzia weathered the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftereffects on substance use disorder, while shifting to an evidence-based, trauma-informed treatment model. Gaudenzia also expanded its services to include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), harm reduction outreach and greater care for pregnant and parenting women with SUD. The organization, which has facilities in PennsylvaniaDelawareMaryland and Washington, D.C, saw a 12% increase in admissions to 15,045 in the 12 months ending June 30, indicating the growing need for quality treatment and care in our region.

“Dr. Gilbert is a respected executive and thought leader in the substance use disorder treatment and behavioral health field,” said Maureen Brennan-Miller, chairperson of the Gaudenzia, Inc. Board of Directors. “She brings a proven record of innovation and success that will be critical as Gaudenzia continues to transform to meet the ever evolving and changing needs of our clients.”

Carly Meyer Bentley, chairperson of the Gaudenzia Foundation Board of Directors which oversees real estate development and philanthropy, said: “Amid a field of highly qualified candidates, Dr. Gilbert stood out for her C-suite-level experience and her passion, positivity and commitment. We are confident she will be a bridge builder with our communities, partners and stakeholders who play a critical role in our ability to reach and serve those affected by substance use disorder and other co-occurring conditions.”

At Gaudenzia, she will oversee over 50 facilities that operate over 100 programs. Gaudenzia offers a full continuum of care for individuals impacted by addiction and mental health disorders, including residential, outpatient, detox, medication-assisted treatment and harm reduction services. In June, Gaudenzia opened West Mill Place, a 30-unit, family-friendly affordable housing development in Philadelphia.

As CEO of Harmony Health Group from 2021 to 2023, Dr. Gilbert oversaw the company, including multiple facilities throughout FloridaNew JerseyTennesseeNorth Carolina, and Massachusetts. For the three years prior, she was chief operating officer at Futures Recovery Healthcare. Earlier, she held the position of chief business officer at Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers.

She earned her doctorate in philosophy in counseling studies from Capella University, master of science in counseling psychology from Chestnut Hill College and bachelor of science in counseling psychology from Bloomsburg University. Dr. Gilbert currently resides in the greater Philadelphia region with her family.

“I’ve spent my career working to give people the hope and tools they need to stay alive in order to get back on a healthy track,” she said. “This is the same passion that drives Gaudenzia in the work they do each and every day. I’m excited to lead the organization to continued growth in reach and scope with the evidence-based compassionate care that clients deserve.”

For more information about Gaudenzia, visit Those seeking help are encouraged to call Gaudenzia’s 24/7 Treatment and Referral HelpLine at 833-976-HELP (4357).


Gaudenzia, Inc. is one of the largest nonprofit substance use and co-occurring disorders treatment centers in the United States, with 51 facilities operating in PennsylvaniaMarylandDelaware, and Washington, D.C. The agency serves more than 15,000 individuals annually and operates over 100 programs providing a full continuum of care. Since 1968, Gaudenzia has provided specialized services and programs for all demographics, including pregnant and parenting mothers, adolescents, people with substance use and co-occurring disorders, and more. Those seeking help can call Gaudenzia’s 24/7 Treatment and Referral HelpLine at 833-976-HELP (4357). For more information, visit