President and Chief Executive Officer
Paula Baker joined Ozark Center in 1981, serving as CEO from 2003-2008. Through her dedication to continuous quality improvement, Ozark Center grew to become the largest and most comprehensive behavioral healthcare provider in the four-state area. Baker was a guiding force behind the development of Ozark Center for Autism and continues to provide executive leadership for the program. In 2008, she was named Freeman Chief Clinical Officer and assumed the helm as Freeman President and CEO on January 1, 2012.
Honors include the Missouri Hospital Association 2008 Visionary Leadership Award, Joplin Tri-State Business Journal inaugural class of 10 Most Influential Women, appointment to the Missouri Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders in 2008, Pittsburg State University Outstanding Alumni, Pittsburg State University Meritorious Achievement Award and Joplin Citizen of the Year.
Additionally, Baker was appointed to the Missouri Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders in 2008. She serves on the Community Advisory Council of the Missouri Foundation for Health, Pittsburg State University Foundation Board of Trustees, and Boards of Ronald McDonald House, Arvest Bank, Talkington Foundation, Mid America Service Solutions, Aspire of Southwest Missouri, Missouri Hospital Association, Healthcare Services Group, and VHA Mid-America. Baker holds a bachelor’s in secondary education and a master’s in clinical psychology from Pittsburg State University.