Board Member Spotlight: Ken Ensroth, MD, Mental Health Hero! — copy

Blog by Karen Rush, Executive Director

Ken Ensroth, MD has been on the Children’s Center Board since January of 2022, however, he has been known to our staff for several years as an incredible volunteer who has helped us provide better mental health care for the children and families we serve at Children’s Center. 

Dr. Ensroth, or as we call him, Dr. Ken, is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with Providence Medical Group in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic.  Since 2019, he has been volunteering his time once a month to meet with our clinical staff to provide psychiatric insight into our most complex cases.  He became interested in furthering his commitment to Children’s Center by joining our Board of Directors after being encouraged by his colleague and fellow board member, John Custer (look for a board spotlight of John later this summer).  Ken also participates on our Prevention and Community Engagement Committee, helping us to develop and implement a comprehensive and inclusive program to prevent child abuse and neglect in Clackamas County and beyond.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I took this opportunity to ask Dr. Ken what he would most want people to know about how to support mental health of the people around them.  Without hesitation, Dr. Ken said, “Really listening to people is the most therapeutic thing you can do.  In various clinical settings that I have been in, patients say that it really made a difference when their provider spent time listening to them and building a relationship.”   Being a good listener does take practice and intention, but I was encouraged by Dr. Ken’s message:  Simply focusing on listening to others, rather than putting my attention on how to respond or solve the problem, is the most helpful thing I can do.

In addition to his service to Children’s Center, Ken is active throughout his community.  He serves as the President Elect for the Willamette Falls Hospital Medical Staff and is the Secretary/Treasurer for the Oregon Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (OCCAP) where he also serves a Delegate and Disaster and Trauma Liaison.  He has been practicing in this field for 29 years and has been a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry leader in the Pacific Northwest for about 20 years.

I am not sure when he is able to find “free time” but when he does, Ken enjoys spending time with his adult children (Nick, 26 and Alex, 21) and is an avid hiker.  He loves to hike all over the Pacific Northwest with his group, Expand Your Hike’rizons!  Ken also enjoys playing jazz trombone.  He plays with the Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra in the Advanced Jazz Combo.  You can look for him this summer when he plays in concert with the Vanguard Big Band!

We are so grateful for Ken’s tireless commitment to children and families in our community and to the staff of Children’s Center.  Ken is happy to serve, saying “I have been constantly impressed by the compassionate people at CC who do complex work with very traumatized and stressed children and families.” Dr. Ken, we assure you, the feeling is mutual!


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