Former Psychiatry faculty member Elinore F. McCance-Katz nominated for federal post

Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Yale Department of Psychiatry from 1991 to 1998, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in the Department of Health and Human Services.

McCance-Katz is the Chief Medical Officer for the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals. She is also Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

From 2013-2015, she was Chief Medical Officer at the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency she will lead if her nomination is confirmed.

The assistant secretary post was created in the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan bill passed in 2016. Besides overseeing SAMHSA, the assistant secretary will coordinate mental health and substance use programs at other federal agencies with the intent of improving people’s access to mental health services nationwide.

Dr. McCance-Katz has a wealth of experience in academic and public sector settings in addressing mental health and substance use disorders.

Maria A. Oquendo, MD, PhD, President, American Psychiatric Association

McCance-Katz will bring more than 25 years of experience as a clinician, teacher, and clinical researcher to Washington.

After graduating from Eastern Connecticut State University, she obtained her medical degree from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and a PhD from Yale with a specialty in infectious disease epidemiology. She was on the faculty of the Yale Department of Psychiatry for seven years, and later taught at the University of Texas, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of California San Francisco.

She was Medical Director for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs before becoming Chief Medical Officer at SAMHSA in 2013.

The American Psychiatric Association, of which McCance-Katz is a longtime member, supports her nomination and encourages the Senate to swiftly confirm her.

“Dr. McCance-Katz has a wealth of experience in academic and public sector settings in addressing mental health and substance use disorders,” APA President Maria A. Oquendo, MD, PhD, said in a statement. “She is an accomplished physician, and the APA strongly supports her nomination.”

This article was submitted by Christopher Gardner on April 27, 2017.