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CMHS National Advisory Council Charter

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Committee’s Official Designation

Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council


The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) National Advisory Council (NAC) was established in accordance with the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 290aa-1, section 502 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended.  The Council is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), (as amended, 5 U.S.C. App.), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.  

Objectives and Scope of Activities

The CMHS NAC will advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use (Assistant Secretary), and the CMHS Director on matters related to developing, promoting, and improving the mental health of the people of the United States.   

To achieve these objectives, the Council looks into designing national priorities for the prevention and treatment of mental illness and the promotion of mental health; encouraging and assisting local entities and state agencies to achieve these goals as priorities; involving consumer and families fully in orienting the mental health system toward recovery; improving access to quality care that is culturally competent; developing and coordinating federal prevention policies and programs; eliminating disparities in mental health services; making early mental health screening, assessment and referral to services common practice; advancing evidence-based practices; and developing and implementing health technology and telehealth systems to improve access and coordination of mental health care.

Description of Duties

The CMHS NAC shall, on the basis of material provided, make recommendations to the HHS Secretary, the SAMHSA Assistant Secretary, and the Center Director with respect to activities conducted at the Center; shall review summary statements for applications submitted for grants and cooperative agreements for activities for which Advisory Council approval is required under Section 504(c)(2) of the Public Health Service Act. Per Section 502(2)(ii) the Advisory Council will recommend for approval applications for projects that show promise of making valuable contributions to the Center’s mission; and may review any grant or cooperative agreement proposed to be made or entered into by the organization. The CMHS NAC may collect, by correspondence or by personal investigation, information as to studies and services that are being carried on in the United States, or any other country as to diseases, disorders or other aspects of human health with respect to the mission of CMHS, and with the approval of the SAMHSA Assistant Secretary or the Center Director make such information available through appropriate publications for the benefit of public and private health entities and health professions personnel and for the information of the general public.  With the approval of the CMHS Director, the CMHS NAC may appoint subcommittees and convene workshops and conferences.

Agency or Official to Whom the Committee Reports

The CMHS NAC shall advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the HHS Secretary, the SAMHSA Assistant Secretary, and the CMHS Director concerning matters relating to the activities carried out by and through the Center and the policies respecting such activities.


Management and support services shall be provided by the Office of Program Analysis and Coordination, CMHS, SAMHSA.

Estimate Annual Operating Costs and Staff Years

The estimated annual operating costs for the CMHS NAC, to include travel, meetings, federal staff support and contracting support, is approximately $148,900.00 and 1.0 fulltime equivalent.  

Designated Federal Officer

The CMHS Director shall designate a Center staff member to serve as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) of the Advisory Council.  The DFO will prepare and approve all meeting agendas, attend all council and subcommittee meetings, adjourn any meeting when the DFO determines adjournment to be in the public interest, and chair meetings when directed to do so by the official to whom the Advisory Council reports.

Estimated Number and Frequency of Meetings

The Chair of the Advisory Council meetings will call the subcommittee and regular council meetings to order, with the approval of the DFO. The CMHS NAC shall meet no less than two times during each fiscal year.  The location of the meetings of the Advisory Council shall be subject to the approval of the Assistant Secretary, and/or the CMHS Director.

CMHS NAC meetings shall be open to the public except as determined otherwise by the HHS Secretary (or the designee), in accordance with the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b(c)) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  Notice of all meetings shall be given to the public.  In the event a part of a meeting is closed to the public, a report shall be prepared which shall contain, at a minimum, a list of members and their business addresses, the CMHS Council’s functions, dates, and places of meetings, and a summary of Council activities and recommendations made during the fiscal year.




Unless renewed by appropriate action prior to its expiration, the charter for the SAMHSA/CMHS NAC will expire two years from the date the charter is filed.

Membership and Designation

The CMHS NAC shall consist of the following non-voting, ex officio federal members: the HHS Secretary; the SAMHSA Assistant Secretary; the CMHS Director; the Under Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Assistant Secretary for Defense for Health Affairs (or the designates of such officers); the SAMHSA Chief Medical Officer; the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health; and such additional officers or employees of the United States as the Secretary determines necessary for the Advisory Council to effectively carry out its functions; and not more than 12 members to be appointed by the Secretary.  

Of the 12 appointed members, at least half will have a medical degree, doctoral degree in psychology, or an advanced degree in nursing or social work from an accredited graduate school or be a certified physician assistant; and shall specialize in the mental health field.

Nine members shall be from among the leading representatives of the health disciplines (including public health and behavioral and social sciences), relevant to the activities of CMHS; and three members shall be from the general public and shall include leaders in the fields of public policy, public relations, law, health policy economics, or management.  All 12 appointed members shall serve as Special Government Employees.

A quorum for the conduct of business by the full Committee will consist of a majority of (one more than one half) currently appointed members.

The HHS Secretary may select an individual from among the appointed members or may select the CMHS Director to serve as chair of the Council.  The term of office of the chair shall be two years.

The term of office of a member of the CMHS Council shall be four years, except that a member may serve after the end of the member’s term until a successor has been appointed and taken office.  If a vacancy occurs in the Advisory Council among the members, the Secretary shall make an appointment to fill such vacancy within 90 days from the date the vacancy occurs. Initial appointments shall be made in such a manner as to ensure that the terms of the members not all expire in the same year.  A member who has been appointed for a term of four years may not be reappointed to an Advisory Council before two years from the date of end of such term of office.

The CMHS Director shall provide orientation and training for new members of the CMHS NAC and such information and training as may be appropriate for their effective participation in the functions of the Council.


Subcommittees may be established by the parent committee with the approval of the Assistant Secretary or the CMHS Director.  The recommendations of a subcommittee must be deliberated by the parent committee.  A subcommittee may not provide advice or work products directly to the agency.  The Department Committee Management Officer will be notified upon establishment of each subcommittee and will be provided information on its name, membership, function, and estimated frequency of meetings.


Meetings of the Council and its subcommittees will be conducted according to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, other applicable laws, and Departmental policies.  Council and subcommittee records will be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule, 6.2, Federal Advisory Committee Records or other approved disposition schedule.  These records will be available for public inspection and copying, subject to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

Filing Date

June 15, 2022


Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D.
Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

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