SAMHSA Region I
JFK Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203
A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., is the Regional Administrator, Region One for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an operating division of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In that role, she represents the Administrator at the regional level in fulfilling the agency’s mission of reducing the impact of mental illness and substance abuse on America’s communities. She provides authoritative advice and assistance on behavioral health policies and innovations for use in the delivery and financing of prevention, treatment and recovery services, develops regional perspectives on SAMHSA initiatives, and is a visible advocate for individuals with mental illnesses and substance use disorders within the federal government and across the region.
In addition, Director Power serves as the SAMHSA Initiative Lead on the Strategic Priority for Military Service Members, Veterans and Their Families, focusing on collaboration and coordination to ensure that behavioral health needs for this population are met in a timely and effective manner. In 2012, she was honored for this work when the Department of Defense awarded her The Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
Prior to her appointment as Regional Administrator, Power served for over 8 years as the Director, Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), at SAMHSA. Director Power provided national leadership in mental health promotion, development and dissemination of effective treatments, services and supports, and prevention efforts in reducing mental illnesses through facilitating the transformation of our nation's behavioral health care system. She participated in the first ever SAMHSA Executive Exchange and served for 6 months as the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
During her tenure, she received three HHS Secretary’s Distinguished Service awards for her outstanding efforts in disaster response, elimination of seclusion and restraint, and creation of the federal partners in transformation.
Prior to her appointment as Director of CMHS, Ms. Power served for over 10 years as the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals, a Cabinet position reporting to the Governor, responsible for four systems of care serving individuals with serious disabilities: mental illnesses, substance abuse disorders and addiction, developmental disabilities, and long-term medical needs requiring hospital level service. From 1993-2003, she led the state to high achievements in recovery focus, deinstitutionalization, reduction of seclusion and restraint, behavioral health approaches, trauma informed services, emotional competency agenda, the development of mobile treatment teams, and expanded supported employment to competitive employment opportunities. The department had an annual budget of over 480M and over 2,000 employees. She previously directed the Rhode Island Office of Substance Abuse, the Governors Drug Program, the Rhode Island Anti-Drug Coalition, and was Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council of Community Mental Health Centers.
Earlier experiences include teaching at both elementary and secondary levels, counseling, leadership and advocacy in rape crisis and domestic violence agencies, and computer systems analysis for the Department of Defense.
Ms. Power has served as President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and has received many distinguished service awards for her work in mental health, substance abuse and civic leadership, recognized both locally and nationally for her advocacy on behalf of individuals with behavioral health conditions. In addition, she has served on the board of directors of over 100 non-profit agencies, commissions and task forces in both the public and private sectors.
Director Power received her bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in Education from St. Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg, MD, 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, which promotes the development of leaders through intensive work in policy, management and executive decision making. She completed the program in senior executive leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, also participating in their leadership programs in both mental health and substance abuse. She has extensive practical training and teaching experience in leadership, ethics and public service, policy development and program implementation.
Ms. Power is a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve.