In 2011, Dr. Charles Smith was selected as the first Regional Director for the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Region VIII (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and 33 Federally-recognized Tribes). In this role, Dr. Smith serves as the lead Federal authority for mental health and substance use and represents the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in fulfilling the agency’s mission of reducing the impact of mental illness and substance use on America’s communities. Dr. Smith is committed to harnessing the knowledge, expertise, and innovation across Region VIII to advance the behavioral health system of care. He provides strategic consultation, leadership, and partnership to regional, state, tribal, and local stakeholders on behavioral health policy, financing, and program implementation that are key to fortifying and innovating the behavioral health prevention, treatment, recovery and workforce infrastructure.
Prior to joining SAMHSA, Dr. Smith served as the Director of the Colorado Division of Behavioral Health and Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for the State of Colorado. Dr. Smith led the statewide integration of substance use and mental health systems, coordinated initiatives to increase behavioral health workforce, expanded statewide prevention and early intervention programs, advanced community-based behavioral health services and re-entry policies for offenders, and developed state’s first recovery-oriented system of care plan. Dr. Smith served on the Governor's Behavioral Health Transformation Council, Governor's Justice Assistance Grant Board, Chair of the Legislative Interagency Advisory Council on Adult and Juvenile Correctional Treatment, Vice-Chair of the Attorney General's Statewide Methamphetamine Task Force and member of Colorado’s State Psychiatric Hospital Oversight Committees. Dr. Smith has served as the Director of the Office of Community Health and Mental Health Services for the Colorado Division of Parole, Community Corrections, and Youth Offender Services, as well as Director of Mental Health for the Colorado Department of Corrections-Denver Complex overseeing psychiatric, addictions, and sex offender treatment services for three State prison facilities. Additionally, Dr. Smith has held numerous clinical positions and appointments in the Colorado Department of Corrections, Denver Health Medical Center, University of Denver, Denver County Jail, Mount Sinai Medical Center (NY), and St. Joseph’s Medical Center (NY).
Dr. Smith is a licensed Psychologist with over 25 years of clinical experience in fields of forensic psychology, addictions psychology, emergency/crisis intervention, integrated care, and behavioral health policy and administration. Dr. Smith holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver, a MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University, and a BS in Psychology from Allegheny College.