Preferred Behavioral Health Group Announces New CEO 

Dr. Tara Chalakani brings 30 years of experience in diverse healthcare fields of Nursing, Psychology, and Mental Health

LAKEWOOD — Preferred Behavioral Health Group (PBHG) announced the appointment of Dr. Tara A. Chalakani, Psy. D., LPC, RN, ACS, as Chief Executive OfficerCurrently working as the organization’s Deputy CEO, Dr. Chalakani brings 30 years of experience in diverse healthcare fields of nursing, psychology, and mental health.  

PBHG is central New Jersey’s leading behavioral healthcare organization serving over 30,000 individuals annually across 70 programs that focus on mental health and addiction prevention, intervention, and treatment.  Dr. Chalakani will begin her position on January 1, 2023, upon the retirement of outgoing CEO, Mary Pat Angelini.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to have someone of Tara’s comprehensive healthcare background and tremendous leadership capabilities step into the role of CEO. Not only is Tara an accomplished professional in the field of behavioral health, as a practicing psychotherapist, she brings a unique perspective into the most pressing issues facing children, adults, and families today.”

Mary Pat Angelini, current Chief Executive Officer of Preferred Behavioral Health Group

“Tara has devoted her entire career to helping improve the lives of others and brings a proven track record of leadership in nonprofit and for-profit sectors,” said Grace Hanlon, Chair of PBHG’s Board of Trustees.  “As CEO, she will undoubtedly help PBHG fulfill our mission of providing industry-leading, compassionate, behavioral healthcare.”

Dr. Chalakani’’s background includes over 30 years in health care with various roles including: Maternal/Child Health, Crisis Response, Inpatient Adult Psychiatric, Community Mental Health, Partial Care, Intensive Outpatient, Behavioral Health Leadership, Higher Education, and Organizational Consulting.  

“I am ecstatic to join the passionate and innovative team at PBHG as Chief Executive Officer,” Dr. Chalakani said. “I look forward to helping PBHG continue to provide the highest quality behavioral healthcare services to New Jersey’s communities and families through a Trauma Informed Care philosophy.”

Dr. Chalakani has undergraduate degrees in Nursing and Psychology, a Masters in Mental Health Counseling, and a Doctoral degree in Psychology, with a concentration in Behavioral Healthcare Leadership. She was recently appointed Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Medicine at Hackensack Meridian Medical School.  She maintains a private practice, Peaceful Minds, in Brielle, working with children, adolescents, adults, and couples. 


Founded in 1978, PBHG’s mission is to deliver quality and compassionate behavioral health services to individuals and families through a Trauma Informed Care philosophy and approach. With a focus on the values of compassion, honesty, accountability, integrity, respect, diversity and inclusion, PBHG strives to be a center of excellence that focuses on innovative wellness through compassionate care. PBHG changes lives and saves lives through a strengths-based approach, helping individuals achieve their full potential and enhancing their quality of life. In 2017, PBHG became an affiliate of Oaks Integrated Care and in 2021, became a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center. 

For more information about PBHG and for those in need of assistance, please visit or call 732-367-4700.​​