40 Under 40 The Class of 2012

Dr. Nate Somers: 36

Medical Director, Center for Human Development

Somers-NateSince being board-certified in both general adult psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry, Dr. Nate Somers has worked at some of the area’s most noted mental-health hot spots, from Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke to the Carson Center in Westfield.
But his role as medical director of the Center for Human Development, which offers a variety of social and health services at numerous locations across Western Mass., has been his most challenging assignment yet — and one he has relished since accepting the job last fall.
As a doctor, he deals with patients — mostly young people, but adults as well — struggling with a variety of issues, from mental illness to substance abuse. “But, in terms of my administrative role, I’m trying to take this big agency and help everyone communicate internally better so we can coordinate services and serve people more effectively,” he said.
“What I find gratifying about this work is that we’re able to help people who have significant needs find a way to get through their lives in the face of very significant challenges,” Somers added. “It’s a good feeling when someone comes into my office and they’re clearly struggling, in tears, and they talk to me about the whole litany of difficult goings-on in their life, and I’m able to listen and get them some support and help them think through some ways they can make things better.”
Somers also stays busy with four children of his own, as well as teaching Sunday school at his church and coaching first- and second-grade basketball and teeball teams in West Springfield — in other words, impacting lives in a positive way outside of work as well.
Meanwhile, he takes a hopeful view of his job. “Many times, people leave my office feeling they can get through the next day, the next two days, the next week … they leave with some hope that things will get better for them over time.”
If he didn’t have the optimism to expect such outcomes, “I wouldn’t be able to do this every day,” he said. “It’s a very difficult job.”
— Joseph Bednar