Dennis Romero (Region 2)
Dennis Romero (Region 2)
SAMHSA Region II
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278
Mr. Dennis O. Romero, M.A., is the first Regional Administrator (RA), 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 Administrator, 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.
Assistant Regional Administrator, Region 2
CDR Karina Aguilar
CDR Karina D. Aguilar, Dr.P.H., M.S.W, CPH, serves as the Assistant Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Region II Office, where she works to advance SAMHSA’s mission through the promotion of evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts. Prior to joining the SAMHSA Regional team, Karina worked in the HHS - Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and served as the Regional Program Consultant for the Title X Family Planning Grant Program. In this role, she supported the Region II grantees in providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventative health services. Karina received her undergraduate degree in Health and Human Services from the State University of NY at Buffalo, her M.S. in Health Services Administration from D’Youville College, an M.S.W from Hunter College, and her Doctorate in Public Health Policy and Management at New York Medical College. Her professional interests include working with youth/young adults and the elderly to achieve healthy outcomes, navigating healthcare systems to increase access. Karina was recognized for her leadership and talent and is the recipient of many awards and honors. Karina is a Commander with the United States Public Health Service and has deployed numerous times including in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the Ebola mission, and the Unaccompanied Children Support mission.