Acorn Health's Transformative Journey: A Year of Innovation and Impact - Acorn Health

December 21, 2023

Acorn Health’s Transformative Journey: A Year of Innovation and Impact

As this year draws to a close, the team at Acorn Health pauses to reflect back on our accomplishments. It’s truly remarkable all that we achieved together in 2023. From the growth of our footprint across the United States, to the growth and development of our team members, and our continual focus on clinical quality and advancement, we are proud of these milestones that empower us to focus on what matters most — helping our families and our learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) achieve their greatest potential. 

With more than 1 in 36 Americans now living with ASD, the demand for applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy continues to increase, and we are positioned to be a trusted advisor and partner for families seeking support.

Let’s reflect back on Acorn Health’s major accomplishments from 2023:

Expanding Horizons: Access to Care Across the Nation

The cornerstone of our success lies in our ability to adapt and expand. To meet the soaring demand for our services, Acorn Health continued along its strategic journey of responsible growth and ABA therapy accessibility. At the onset of the year, we proudly announced that we were opening three new centers across Pennsylvania and Florida, specifically Allentown PA, Lake Mary Florida and St. Johns, Florida

We also strategically relocated centers throughout 2023 to increase center space, allowing us to serve more clients as well as add therapy rooms and other features to enhance gross motor skills and better support school-aged children. Those relocations included Cookeville, TN, Saginaw, MI, and East Orange, FL.

Nurturing Growth: Investing in Our People

The heart of Acorn Health beats with the collective success of our people. In 2023, we witnessed remarkable growth, both in numbers and professional achievements. Surpassing the 1500-employee mark across 75 centers and seven states, our commitment to employee development became evident as 38 registered behavior technicians ascended to Board-Certified Behavior Analyst status, and 351 behavior technicians earned their registered behavior technician credentials.We are honored to be on their career journey and to support them as they continue to achieve more credentials and meaningfully impact families and the ABA industry in positive ways.

The Apprentice Program launched at Acorn Health in 2021, providing training and real-world experience for clinicians pursuing BCBA certification. In 2023, the Apprentice Program yielded impressive results with the production of 167 program graduates.

Elevating Clinical Leadership: A Partnership for Excellence

We supported the growth and training of our clinical leaders through our partnership with FTF Behavioral Consulting and Clinical Advisory Board Chair Dr. Greg Hanley. Specifically, our Acorn Health clinicians were able to pursue and earn Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) and Skills-Based Treatment (SBT) certification through this partnership. Three Acorn Health clinical leaders currently hold FTF certification, including Emily Dzugan (FTF Level 4), Kelti Ownes (FTF Level 6), and Paul Dohler (FTF Level 6). 

Dr. Hanley’s comprehensive series and training sessions further fortified our clinical team, ensuring Acorn Health clinicians remain at the forefront of innovative ABA therapy practices.
FTF Consulting hosted several training series for our clinicians, including three grand rounds sessions, seven clinical topic presentations with Dr. Hanley and Dr. Kelsey Ruppel, and four summer series continuing education opportunities with Dr. Anthony Cammilleri.

Celebrating Excellence: Recognition on the National Stage

In 2023, Acorn Health’s commitment to clinical quality garnered national recognition. In July, all of Acorn Health’s centers achieved BHCOE reaccreditation, which recognizes excellence within the (ABA) industry in the areas of quality, staffing and satisfaction and signifies an organization’s commitment to effective, sustainable treatment.

In November, we were honored to be named a Top 10 ABA Therapy Services Provider by Healthcare Business Review. Additionally, as part of our commitment to elevating industry standards collectively, Acorn Health played a pivotal role as a founding member of the first-ever national data registry of autism providers in collaboration with the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.

New Leadership, New Horizons: Welcoming Richard Hallworth as CEO

August saw the ushering in of a new era as veteran healthcare executive Richard Hallworth assumed the role of Acorn Health’s CEO. His wealth of experience positions Acorn Health for continued growth and unwavering dedication to high-quality care for children with autism.

Pioneering Clinical Excellence: Universal Protocol and Clinical Readiness Programs

The rollout of  Universal Protocol Systems (UniPro) was a milestone in Acorn Health’s history.  

While Acorn Health has always taught and promoted the foundational behaviors associated with UniPro, our clinical leaders are now implementing Universal Protocol Systems of Interaction across the organization as a standard. Additionally, we established comprehensive and consistent training for our clinicians on UniPro, further demonstrating our commitment to serving families in the most dignified way possible. Between July and November 2023 there were more than 71 business units trained on Universal Protocol, encompassing more than 894 individuals, or 84% of BCBAs and RBTs and counting. 

Looking ahead, the Clinical Readiness program, launched in 2023 with a full roll out planned for 2024, promises industry-leading training for behavior technicians led by a training and development specialist, setting a new benchmark in excellence.

Strengthening Our Core: Operational Enhancements

To streamline our clinical operations and elevate client experience, Acorn Health introduced several new operational roles. Intake coordinators and scheduling managers were appointed in our regions, and clinical administrators were also deployed in a unified focus on streamlining scheduling and points of contact for our clients. We also appointed a National Director of Clinical Integrity to oversee organizational clinical documentation protocols and other key aspects of proactive clinical compliance.

Creating a Bright Future: Collaborative Initiatives

The team at Acorn Health is proud of all that has been accomplished alongside our clients and partners. We are looking forward to continuing to collaborate and undertake initiatives that propel our industry forward – in terms of clinical services, training, most importantly, improving outcomes for the children and families we serve.

If you’d like to inquire about beginning ABA therapy services to support your child with an autism diagnosis, call Acorn Health at 844-674-1069 or complete an online inquiry form at