eric golnick

Eric Golnick, A.B. ’09, M.A. ’14

By Alex Rodriguez

Eric Golnick, A.B. ’09, M.A. ’14

By Alex Rodriguez
Alumnus starts his own company to provide best-in-class dual treatment for veterans.

Alumnus Eric Golnick, A.B. ’09, M.A. ’14, has made it his life service to advocate for veterans and their mental health. After relocating to New Hampshire in 2017, the Florida native opened healthcare facilities in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which cater primarily to veterans and first responders with PTSD. A veteran himself, Eric found it difficult to connect with people who were trying to help him, so he set out to open a care center that could help others like him. The facility, called VFR (Veterans and First Responders) is run by veterans.

“My personal experience with PTSD and substance abuse after my separation from the Navy highlighted the stark reality of the difficulties finding adequate mental health and substance abuse treatment that addressed the specific needs of veterans and service members,” he says. “Because of this, I decided to start Veteran and First Responder Healthcare.”

Eric describes himself as a proud University of Miami alumnus. He credits his accomplishments thus far to the professors, friends and people who became his family at UM.

“After serving four years active duty, I came back to UM to get my M.A. in the Master of Arts in International Administration program. I got the opportunity for my current position as CEO of a national behavioral healthcare company because my best friend from UM (we joined the military together after UM undergrad) saw the need to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment for veterans, first responders, and their families."

Eric’s role and advocacy in veterans and mental health was not exactly what he had in mind in 2009 as a newly minted UM alumnus. He pictured himself becoming a Naval officer before going to work in foreign policy in a government office – being the CEO of a behavior health company was a slight step out of the initial plan, but it was a welcome change nonetheless.

“My time in the MAIA program for my M.A. exposed me to the business and administrative world. I had no idea that I would be using those skills now in my current position,” he says. “My mentors and professors made an enormous impact on being a leader and thinking bigger than myself."