The BestSelf Behavioral Health Board of Directors announced today that Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, LCSW-R will take over as President/CEO on July 1, 2020. She will replace Howard K. Hitzel, Psy.D., MPA who is retiring after 24 years. BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. is a product of a June 2017 merger between the former Child and Adolescent Treatment Services and Lake Shore Behavioral Health and is the largest community-based behavioral health organization serving all ages in Western New York with more than 1,000 employees and a $74 million annual budget.

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Woike-Ganga as President/CEO,” said Ellen Bieler, Chair of the BestSelf Behavioral Health Board of Directors. “We are very fortunate that BestSelf has such a strong leadership team with several viable candidates for us to consider upon Dr. Hitzel’s retirement. Liz has been instrumental in BestSelf’s continued growth and we have every confidence that she will be a visionary leader for our organization.”

Liz started at Lake Shore Behavioral Health as an intern in 2002, was hired as a counselor in 2004 and was offered various promotions until joining the BestSelf Executive Management Team in 2012 as Director of Chemical Dependency. She was promoted in 2014 to Vice President of Clinical Operations and then to Chief Operating Officer in November of 2015.

Liz was raised in Tonawanda, NY, and graduated from Kenmore West High School. She attended Yale University to study international relations and as a Fulbright Scholar, Liz studied sustainable farming in Costa Rica.  She then went to Gabon, in central Africa, as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years. On her return to Buffalo, Liz worked at Vive, Inc. a homeless shelter for refugees on the East Side of Buffalo and attended the University at Buffalo to obtain a Master’s in Social Work.  

Liz is active in the behavioral health community and also is a graduate of both Leadership Buffalo (2013) and the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York’s Health Fellows program.  

“I have been privileged to be part of the team responsible for establishing BestSelf as the premier and largest provider of comprehensive behavioral health treatment in WNY,” states Liz Woike-Ganga, LCSW-R. “I look forward to continuing our relentless commitment to putting our clients first, and to ensuring that individuals and families of diverse racial, cultural, and social-economic backgrounds are treated with dignity and respect and are afforded equitable access to the highest quality behavioral health care.”


BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. is the largest community-based behavioral health organization serving children and adults with mental health and substance use disorders in WNY. We provide easy access to a full continuum of person-centered, trauma-informed behavioral health treatment, rehabilitation and recovery services.  BestSelf focuses on delivering high quality, effective, accessible, and culturally-sensitive services to promote self-sufficiency, wellness and recovery, and an enhanced quality of life for children and adults.