Pennsylvania Behavioral Health Council

“I’ve heard from students, parents, providers, and so many others who have told me about the growing challenges of dealing with mental health challenges and substance use disorder, which are so often intertwined. For the first time, our Commonwealth [has] a senior leader in the Governor’s Office whose full-time job is to focus on this specific work and reach across all levels of government to improve our mental health and recovery services.”
-Governor Josh Shapiro

In October 2023, Governor Josh Shapiro established the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health Council through an executive order. The purpose of this action and development of the Council is to address any gaps in access, affordability, and delivery of mental health and substance use disorder services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

If you are currently in crisis,
contact 988.


For more information on the 988 crisis line, please visit www.dhs.pa.gov

Behavioral Health Council Meeting Schedule


The Pennsylvania Behavioral Health Council will meet on the third Tuesday of the month.

Meeting Date & Time AgendaMinutes Location
12/19/2023 – 1:00 PM12.19.2023-AgendaIn-Person
1/16/2024 – 1:00 PMVirtual
2/20/2024Virtual
3/19/2024In-Person
4/16/2024Virtual

Advisory Committee of the Behavioral Health Council


The Advisory Committee of the Behavioral Health Council will meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Schedule coming soon.

Meet the Behavioral Health Council

The Council is comprised of 33 members, and it includes a diverse array of stakeholders with representation from state, county, and local governments, the provider community, advocacy groups, and individuals with lived experiences. All will seek to create a more holistic healthcare delivery system in Pennsylvania.

Commonwealth Representatives

Akbar Hossain

Secretary of Policy and Planning

Dr. Valerie Arkoosh

Secretary of the Department of Human Services

Dr. Debra Bogen

Acting Secretary of the Department of Health

Michael Humphreys

Commissioner of Pennsylvania Insurance Department

Jason Kavulich

Secretary of the Department of Aging

Dr. Latika Davis-Jones

Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs

Dr. Khalid Mumin

Secretary of the Department of Education

Maj. Gen. Mark J. Schindler

Adjutant General of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Colonel Christopher Paris

Commissioner of Pennsylvania State Police

Dr. Laurel Harry

Secretary of the Department of Corrections

Al Schmidt

Secretary of the Department of State

Russell Redding

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture

Michael Pennington

Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Nancy Walker

Secretary of the Department of Labor

Annie Newman

Director of Digital Strategy at the Governor’s Office

Brittney Kline

Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Safe2Say Something Program Director

Representatives with lived or living experiences and family members

Robert Hamilton, MPPM

Westmoreland DHS Director; Formerly homeless veteran and person in long-term recovery

Kate Favata

Community Engagement Manager, Crossroads, Treatment Advocate

Jennifer Wilt

Parent of a loved one with mental illness, President NAMI of Cumberland, and Perry Counties

County Representatives

Tina Clymer

County Mental Health Office representing Carbon, Monroe, and Pike counties

Dr. Tamra Williams

County Mental Health Office from Montgomery County

Ryan Hogan

Single County Authority from Luzerne County

Kristin Varner

Single County Authority from Dauphin County

Laurie Greco

Area Agency on Aging from Northampton County

Dr. Shannah Gillam

Area Agency on Aging from Allegheny County

Clinical Representatives

Dr. Amy Kim

An expert in child and family behavioral healthcare

Dr. Margaret Jarvis

An expert in addiction medicine and substance use disorder treatments

Dr. Jack Todd Wahrenberger

An expert in primary healthcare

Dr. Wendy Ross

An expert in treating individuals with co-occurring intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism with mental illness

Legislative Representatives from the General Assembly

Representative Mike Schlossberg (D)

Representative Jim Struzzi (R)

Senator Maria Collett (D)

Senator Michele Brooks (R)

Meet the Advisory Committee of the Behavioral Health Council

The Advisory Committee of the Behavioral Health Council is comprised of members who bring together industry knowledge, expertise, reports, findings, and feedback from the communities they serve to assist the Behavioral Health Council with its purposes. 

Meet the Representatives

Robert J. Tomassini

Representative from the Juvenile Court Judges Commission

Eric Kiehl

Representative from the community-based healthcare services

Matthew Hurford, MD

Representative from a Managed Care Organization

John Alunni

Representative from a rural county government that provides behavioral health and child welfare services

Marquita Williams, PhD

Representative from an urban county government that provides behavioral health and child welfare services

Commissioner George Hartwick

Representative from an organization representing statewide County Commissioners

Suzanne Estrella, Esq.

Representative from the Office of Victim Advocate

Michele Denk

Representative from an organization representing county drug and alcohol administrators

Laurie Friedman, PhD, MPA, LCSW

Representative from an organization representing statewide social workers

Michael Harper, Esq.

Representative from the Pennsylvania courts who is a behavioral health administrator

Erich Curnow

Representative from a provider association and community member from the Southwest region of Pennsylvania

Richard Edley, PhD

Representative from a provider association and community member from the Northwest region of Pennsylvania

Molly Cowan, PsyD

Representative from a provider association and community member from the Central region of Pennsylvania

Jennifer Passaniti

Representative from a provider association and community member from the Northeast region of Pennsylvania

Jessica Fenchel

Representative from a provider association and community member from the Southeast region of Pennsylvania

Roxanne Elizabeth Epperson

Representative from an organization representing domestic violence victims

Joyce Lukima

Representative from an organization representing sexual assault victims

Lynn Cooper

Representative from an organization representing statewide Area Agencies on Aging

Mitch Crawford, DO

Representative from a community-based organization that provides services for independent living for individuals with disabilities

Sandy Swogger

Representative from an organization advocating for services to older adults

Amanda Kingston, MD

Representative from community behavioral health care services

Jennifer Jordan

Representative from the hospital and health system association of the state

Frederick Ramirez

Representative from community behavioral health care services that serves indigent and diverse populations

Sally Walker

Representative from a county level managed care organization

Matthew Wintersteen, PhD

Representative who is an expert in Suicide Prevention

Please check back in the future; there will a form where you be able provide ideas, feedback, and concerns. We welcome your input.