McCance-Katz appointed chief medical officer of BHDDH

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BURRILLVILLE – Director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals Richard Charest has announced that Elinore McCance-Katz has accepted the position of chief medical officer at BHDDH and Eleanor Slater Hospital, which includes the Zambarano unit in Burrillville.

McCance-Katz, who served as BHDDH’s CMO from 2015 to 2017, is a board-certified psychiatrist with a subspecialty in Addiction Psychiatry. She has 30 years of experience in academic medicine, executive leadership in healthcare settings, and federal/state government leadership positions, according to a release from the agency.

“Her work has emphasized the advancement of models of patient-centered integrated care, which address whole health and the social determinants of health,” the release notes. “In addition to receiving numerous honors and awards over the years, she has earned an international reputation in psychiatry and addiction medicine.”

“I am pleased that Dr. McCance-Katz is rejoining BHDDH in a role she has previously held,” Charest said. “She not only brings a wealth of experience, but also a historical knowledge of the department.”

McCance-Katz most recently served in the Division of Diversion Control at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, providing subject matter expertise to the DEA on questions related to substance use disorders, appropriate use of controlled substances, regulation development, legislation evaluation and statutory change related to substance use disorder-related issues, including the delivery of treatment services for these conditions.

Before working at the DEA, McCance-Katz served as the first Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under her leadership, the 988 mental health crisis hotline number was approved and a plan for national implementation was developed. She also reinstituted the Drug Abuse Warning Network, a surveillance program that tracks emergency department experience with toxicities and adverse events related to illicit substances and alcohol.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she established flexibilities so that those with mental health and substance use conditions could continue to access care to the greatest extent possible, including the use of telehealth services for behavioral health, according to the agency.

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