A. KATHRYN POWER Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services
A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed. is the Director of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an operating division of the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). CMHS provides national leadership in mental health promotion, mental illness prevention, and the development and dissemination of effective mental health services. Director Power leads a staff of professionals in facilitating the transformation of our nation’s mental health care system into one that is recovery-oriented and consumer-centered. Director Power participated in an executive exchange for six months, from July 2010-January 2011, serving as the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), SAMHSA. CSAP provides national leadership in the Federal effort to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems.
Director Power received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service in 2004 for outstanding leadership and accomplishments in the national effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate seclusion and restraint in mental health and substance abuse service settings; in 2005 for outstanding collaborative spirit in leading an unprecedented Federal coalition to transform behavioral health services in the United States; and in 2006 for distinguished service in providing increased capacity for mental health and substance abuse treatment services following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Prior to her federal appointments, Ms. Power served for over 10 years as the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals (DMHRH), a Cabinet position reporting to the Governor and responsible for four systems of care serving individuals with mental illnesses, substance abuse treatment and prevention services, developmental disabilities, and long-term medical needs requiring hospital-level service. The Department had an annual budget of over $480 million and more than 2,000 employees. Ms. Power previously directed substance abuse prevention and policy programs including the Rhode Island Office of Substance Abuse, the Governor’s Drug Policy Office, the Rhode Island Anti-Drug Coalition, and the Rhode Island Council of Community Mental Health Centers.
Earlier professional experiences include teaching at elementary, secondary, and university levels; providing counseling, leadership and advocacy for rape crisis and domestic violence service systems and agencies; and working as a computer systems analyst at the Department of Defense.
Director Power received her Bachelor’s degree in education from St. Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and her Master’s degree in education and counseling from Western Maryland College. She is a graduate of the Toll Fellowship program of the Council of State Governments. She completed programs in senior executive leadership development, mental health leadership, and substance abuse leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition, she has extensive training and teaching experience in leadership, ethics, public service, policy development, and program implementation.
Ms. Power is a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve. She and her husband Brian are the proud parents of two sons, Matthew and Brendan, and super-proud grandparents of Carey Anne and Hagan Elizabeth Power.
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