Mr. Dennis O. Romero, M.A., is the first Regional Director, DHHS Region II 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, he represents the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the regional level in fulfilling the agency’s mission of reducing the impact of mental illness and substance abuse on America’s communities. He 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.
Prior to his current appointment as Regional Director, Mr. Romero served as the SAMHSA lead establishing the federal framework necessary to ensure a coordinated approach involving the Departments of Justice, Interior, and Health and Human Services. Mr. Romero also helped to assist and respond to the behavioral health needs of tribal governments across the country through the provisions of training, guidance and technical assistance to enhance the Tribe’s behavioral health prevention and treatment initiatives as required under The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. Prior to that position, Mr. Romero served as the Agency’s Deputy Executive Officer and Deputy Director for the Office of Program Services at SAMHSA, which oversees the conduct of management and administrative operations across the agency. Preceding that position, Mr. Romero served in several senior leadership capacities in SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, providing national leadership in the prevention sciences, development and dissemination of effective strategies, services and support efforts in reducing substance abuse while promoting the strategic prevention framework across our nation’s behavioral health care system.
Mr. Romero has extensive knowledge in the fields of behavioral health administration, program development, and as an experienced clinician served in numerous clinical capacities in the Northeast region both in the public and in private sectors. Mr. Romero has served on many professional committees, advisory boards, and commissions (at regional, state and local levels) that address issues related to the field of behavioral health as well as allied social and educational fields. He is also the recipient of numerous awards, honors and recognitions.
Earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Psychology from Cathedral College, he also holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Manhattan College. He received post-graduate training at the State University of New York, Albany Campus.