The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Administrator Pamela S. Hyde is announcing the appointment of Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D. as SAMHSA’s first chief medical officer. In this capacity she will provide medical-scientific expertise to SAMHSA’s major behavioral health efforts including those promoting the prevention of mental illnesses and substance use disorders, as well as the treatment and recovery of people from these conditions.
Dr. McCance-Katz will also work with leading scientists in the field of behavioral health to ensure that SAMHSA is advancing the most effective, state-of-the-art, evidence-based approaches to promoting the nation’s behavioral health services. She will also represent SAMHSA on key departmental groups requiring medical expertise and work with stakeholder groups on clinical issues.
In her post as chief medical officer, Dr. McCance-Katz will play a key role in providing a medical perspective to SAMHSA’s staff and advisory committee members on the wide range of behavioral health issue they address. She will also organize, direct, present and participate in other public meetings and symposia involving SAMHSA’s work and the field of behavioral health.
Dr. McCance-Katz is board certified in psychiatry and is subspecialty boarded in addiction psychiatry. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. She comes to SAMHSA from her position as the state medical director for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, and as a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. In addition to her teaching, Dr. McCance-Katz has extensive experience as a clinician and NIH funded clinical researcher. Her areas of clinical interest have been in the care of those with co-occurring disorders; specifically those with substance use and mental disorders, chronic pain, addiction, and mental illness, and HIV disease complicated by substance abuse and mental disorders. Her areas of research interest have included the clinical pharmacology of drugs of abuse, medications development, and drug-drug interactions.
"As SAMHSA’s chief medical officer, Ellie will greatly enhance SAMHSA’s ability to bring the best available medical science and clinical perspective to bear in promoting all aspects of the nation’s behavioral health," said Administrator Hyde. "Her widely respected expertise, extensive experience and passion for applying science to help people make her the perfect choice to start this new, critically important position at SAMHSA."
Dr. McCance-Katz is expected to begin her duties at SAMHSA on June 3, 2013.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.