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McDonnell announces task force on mental health services


Gov. Bob McDonnell today announced the membership for the newly-created Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response. The membership includes leaders in the mental health field, law enforcement communities, the judicial system, private hospitals, and individuals receiving mental health services and their families. The group will review existing services and challenges in Virginia’s mental health system and make recommendations, including legislative and budget proposals, for critical improvements to mental health procedures, programs and services.

bob-mcdonnellSpeaking about the taskforce and its membership, McDonnell said, “We must ensure that people experiencing mental health crises are connected immediately to needed services to help ensure their safety and the safety of those around them. It is critically important that we expand existing mental health treatment services as needed in order to help prevent mental health emergencies from happening. This task force brings together experts on mental health services from a variety of perspectives. I am thankful for Secretary Hazel and Secretary Rhode for their invaluable leadership of this effort, and to all of the task force members who have agreed to examine these important topics, and I believe they will develop recommendations that can be used to make a real difference for Virginians with serious mental health issues and their families. I am pleased that Governor-elect McAuliffe has stated he will issue a similar Executive Order continuing the Task Force during his administration.”

On Dec. 10, McDonnell issued Executive Order 68 establishing a multidisciplinary task force to seek and recommend solutions that will improve Virginia’s mental health crisis services and help prevent crises from developing. The task force will send initial recommendations no later than January 31, 2014. It will make additional recommendations on an ongoing basis and provide a final report on all aspects of the executive order to the governor no later than October 1, 2014.

The Task Force will hold its first meeting on Jan. 7 at 1 p.m., in the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond.


Governor’s Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response



The Honorable Bill Hazel, MD, Secretary of Health and Human Resources

The Honorable Bryan Rhode, Secretary of Public Safety



The Honorable Kenneth Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia

The Honorable Cynthia D. Kinser, Chief Justice of Virginia Supreme Court

The Honorable Rob Bell, Virginia House of Delegates

The Honorable Joseph Yost, Virginia House of Delegates

The Honorable Emmett Hanger, Senate of Virginia

The Honorable Janet Howell, Senate of Virginia

James Stewart, Commissioner, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

Cindi Jones, Commissioner, Department of Medical Assistance Services

Margaret Schultze, Commissioner, Department of Social Services

Colonel Steven Flaherty, Superintendent, Virginia Department of State Police

Buzz Barnett, Emergency Services Director, Region Ten Community Services Board, Charlottesville

Kaye Fair, Emergency Services Director, Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, Fairfax

Melanie Adkins, Emergency Services Director, New River Valley Community Services, Roanoke

Gabriel Morgan, Sheriff, City of Newport News

John Venuti, Chief, Virginia Commonwealth Police Department, Richmond

James Agnew, Sheriff, County of Goochland, Goochland

Mike O’Connor, Executive Director, Henrico Area Community Services, Henrico

Chuck Walsh, Executive Director, Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Community Services Board, Saluda

Jeffrey Lanham, Regional Magistrate Supervisor, 6th Magisterial Region

Daniel Holser, Chief Magistrate, 12th Judicial District

Bruce Lo, MD, Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Norfolk

William Barker, MD, Emergency Medicine, Fauquier Hospital, Warrenton

Douglas Knittel, MD, Psychiatric Emergency Services, Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth

Thomas Wise, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church

Ananda Pandurangi, MD, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

Cynthia McClasky, PhD, Director, Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Marion

Scott SyverudMD, Vice Chair, Clinical Operations, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville

Joseph Trapani, Chief Executive Officer, Poplar Springs Hospital, Petersburg

Ted Stryker, Vice President, Centra Mental Health Services, Lynchburg

Greg Peters, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Methodist Family Services, Richmond

Teshana Henderson, Chief Administrative Officer, NDUTIME Youth & Family Services, Richmond

Becky Sterling, Saluda

Ben Shaw, Fredericksburg

Rhonda VanLowe, Fairfax

Tom Spurlock, Roanoke



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