A. Kathryn Power named chairwoman of Governor’s Council on Behavioral Health

PROVIDENCE – A veteran Rhode Island health care official has been named as chairwoman of the Governor’s Council on Behavioral Health.

A. Kathryn Power, who served as a director of the R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals when it was under a different name, was chosen by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo earlier this month.

Power replaces Rich Leclerc, who served as chairman of the behavioral health council since its creation in 2002. Leclerc, a former president of Gateway Healthcare, decided to step down from the role but will remain on the council in an emeritus status to help Power transition into her new role, said BHDDH spokesman Randy Edgar.

“I welcome this opportunity to help forge the future for behavioral health in Rhode Island,” Power said. “We need to fully engage with everyone. We really have to lay out a picture and vision to say what we want to do in Rhode Island for people with behavioral health conditions.”

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Power was an administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency, from 2011 to 2018. Prior to that, she led the BHDDH under three different governors.

“With more than 30 years of experience working at the federal, state and local levels, Kathryn is more than qualified to take on this role,” Raimondo said. “I look forward to working together to improve behavioral health care and outcomes for Rhode Islanders.”

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