CAPT Karen (Kari) Hearod, M.S.W., LCSW, is the Director of the Office of Tribal Affairs and Policy (OTAP). CAPT Hearod previously served as SAMHSA’s Regional Director for HHS Region 6, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. In that role, she supported stakeholders through technical assistance and promoted program development, policy innovation, and system transformation.
Prior to her work in SAMHSA, CAPT Hearod served as the Director of the Office of Tribal Affairs and Strategic Alliances (OTASA) within CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support. Previously, CAPT Hearod was a behavioral health consultant for the Indian Health Service (IHS) Oklahoma City Area (Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas), where she supported behavioral health programs providing services impacting more than 410,000 Native American people. She also chaired the IHS National Zero Suicide Advisory Committee and served as a member of the National Suicide Crisis Policy Committee, working to establish the first IHS National Suicide Care Policy.
CAPT Hearod, a proud member of the Choctaw Nation, previously served as the Behavioral Health Director for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She led the creation of the Choctaw Nation Wind Horse Family Treatment Center, which provides family-centered substance abuse prevention and treatment services.
She received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Oklahoma and is a licensed clinical social worker.