About Us

The Josselyn Story


Josselyn is a certified Community Mental Health Center which, for more than 70 years, has provided a full slate of quality, accessible mental health services, improving care for the patient in a coordinated setting with access to therapy, psychiatry, and other specialized services.

Through our clinics in Northfield, Waukegan, and Northbrook, we serve a diverse clientele of more than 7,800 children, adolescents, and adults from nearly 200 communities across Cook and Lake Counties.

Josselyn’s Northfield building under construction in 1967

Dr. Irene Josselyn


Josselyn was established by child psychiatrist Dr. Irene Milliken Josselyn who saw the need for affordable mental health treatment for children and families who were unable to afford private care.

Considered a true visionary, Dr. Josselyn founded the North Shore Mental Health Association in 1951 as a psychiatric clinic to serve families who could not afford private care. Her vision for the clinic was based on the principle of equity in accessing quality mental health services. The North Shore Mental Health Association was later named The Josselyn Center.

The date of its founding is noteworthy as this was more than a dozen years prior to the Community Mental Health Act of 1963. This Act was signed by President John F. Kennedy and provided federal funding for community-based mental health treatment programs and led to widespread deinstitutionalization.

Dorothy (Dottie) D. Palombo (1933-2019)

In 1970, Dottie Palombo joined Josselyn and worked to organize community-based adolescent services. She then led the project to increase services and support for those with chronic psychiatric disorders. She became Executive Director in 1983.

Prior to her leadership role at Josselyn, Dottie had a long history of social activism and a commitment to community development. She worked in Chicago settlement houses and also served as the legal administrator for the Chicago 8 Conspiracy defendants.

Dottie was described as “a petite, strawberry blond ball of fire, who didn’t let anything stand in her way” by those who knew her.

During her tenure as Executive Director, Josselyn made considerable advances in its services and reach. Dottie was a stalwart champion for youth. Under her leadership, Josselyn helped to form a number of youth organizations, including Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook, Haven, The Warming House, Angles and more.

At the time of her retirement in 1995, Dottie’s friends and the friends of Josselyn created “The Dottie Palombo Fund” which is now a part of Josselyn’s endowment.

Josselyn turned seventy years old in 2021 and we are continuing to expand Irene Josselyn’s vision as we seek to eradicate barriers to quality mental health services for all through geographic expansion, more acute services, and pursuing greater equity in all we do.

Growth and Expansion

In 2020, Josselyn opened its second location in Waukegan due to increased need. In summer 2021, we launched a new intensive outpatient program for teens and adolescents. We’re reaching further into Lake County, developing care coordination partnerships with hospitals, libraries, and colleges. We’ve quickly become a leading provider of Mental Health First Aid training across Cook and Lake Counties as well.

At Josselyn, we’re working to provide mental health services for all those in need to make our vision of Mental health for all a reality.

Support our mission of Mental health for all.

Josselyn is stronger than ever and expanding to meet the needs of our region. You can be part of this important work by donating today.

Donate Now