New Leadership Team Set for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services
RALEIGH – N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dempsey Benton today announced a new leadership team for the N.C. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS). The division will be led by two co-directors, one in charge of clinical activities and the other handling administrative duties.
Mike Lancaster, M.D., who has been DMH/DD/SAS clinical policy chief since June 2004, and Leza Wainwright, who has been DMH/DD/SAS deputy director since December 2003, will fill the new roles.
“This is a large division with a complex mission,” said Benton. “It is clear that we need to have strong, focused leadership on both the clinical and the administrative sides of the operation. These two professionals are uniquely qualified to fill those roles. I don’t think any one individual would have the skill set to give both the clinical and administrative functions the attention they deserve at this time.”
Dr. Lancaster will provide guidance on clinical policy throughout the entire public mental health, developmental disabilities, substance abuse services system. Lancaster, who has more than 25 years clinical experience as a Board-certified Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, will work with clinical staff to ensure that quality services are delivered consistently across the system.
Wainwright will focus her attention on day-to-day administrative operations of the division, including overseeing budgeting, personnel and relationships with the local management entities that manage community service delivery.
The N.C. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services oversees delivery of services to over 315,000 people a year and has an annual budget of $2.3 billion. It is by far the largest division in DHHS, accounting for almost 12,000 of the department’s 19,000 employees. The Division also oversees four regional psychiatric hospitals, four developmental disabilities centers, three substance abuse treatment centers, a specialty nursing facility for consumers with mental illness, a specialty nursing facility for consumers with developmental disabilities and two residential facilities for children with emotional disturbances.