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Press Release Executive Office of Health and Human Services Announces Retirement of Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula

Secretary Sudders salutes Commissioner Mikula’s 35-year career in public service and leadership for mental health parity and child and adolescent mental health
For immediate release:
9/15/2020
  • Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Media Contact for Executive Office of Health and Human Services Announces Retirement of Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula

Colleen Arons, Executive Office of Health and Human Services

BostonToday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders announced that Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula will be retiring after a 35-year career of public service at DMH. DMH Deputy Commissioner Brooke Doyle will serve as Acting Commissioner following Mikula’s retirement effective October 1, 2020.

Mikula was appointed by Governor Baker in May 2015 and has led the agency and its 3,400 employees for the last five years, including through the COVID-19 pandemic, when the DMH’s work to provide mental health and behavioral health and to promote tele-behavioral health took on an even greater sense of urgency. 

“I have had the privilege of working alongside Commissioner Joan Mikula throughout our respective careers, including during my service as Commissioner of Mental Health and for the last five years as I lead Health and Human Services, and you will not find a more ardent advocate, tireless leader, and respected colleague,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Throughout her career, Joan has been a leader in the fight for mental health parity and child and adolescent mental health. And as we navigated the public health crisis, Commissioner Mikula played a critical role to ensure DMH’s essential services were uninterrupted.  I am grateful for her  outstanding public service and wish her the best as she begins her next personal chapter.”     

“It has been an honor to service the people of the Commonwealth these past 35 years, and I am grateful for the confidence of Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders, my colleagues at DMH and across the industry, as these partnerships have been essential in the collective progress we have made to ensure everyone has access to mental health resources and supports,” said Commissioner Mikula. “We have experienced sweeping changes in our inpatient hospitals and in our community system, enabling DMH to intensify its focus on education and consultation in the broader community to address issues and needs earlier, and incorporating the important role of race and equity in access and service provision. I am confident DMH will continue to provide critical support and advocacy for increased access and investment in mental health and behavioral health for all.”

Commissioner Mikula joined DMH in 1985 as Assistant Commissioner for Child and Adolescent Services and has devoted herself to delivering the agency’s mission, answering the call to lead as Assistant and Deputy Commissioner of the Department's Child, Youth, and then as Acting Commissioner in early 2015.

Professionally trained as a social worker, Commissioner Mikula’s legacy is highlighted by her commitment to and extensive work on children’s mental health, mental health parity, and workforce development and training.

About the Department of Mental Health

As the state mental health authority, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages, enabling them to live work, and participate in their communities. DMH has 3,400 employees and operates within five geographic areas statewide, including 27 site offices, state-operated hospitals and community mental health centers, and a network of contracted and state-operated community services. In addition, the Department operates 4 Continuing Care facilities at Worcester Recovery Center, Taunton State Hospital, The Hathorne Units at Tewksbury State Hospital, and the Metro Boston Mental Health Units at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital. DMH also operates six Community Mental Health Centers in Boston, Brockton, Fall River and Cape Cod. This network provides services to approximately 29,000 individuals with severe and persistent mental health conditions across the Commonwealth, including children and adolescents and their families, through a continuum of care. Approximately 10 percent of these individuals require inpatient services, while more than 90 percent receive all or most of their services in the community.   

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Media Contact for Executive Office of Health and Human Services Announces Retirement of Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health 

The Department of Mental Health, as the State Mental Health Authority, assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages; enabling them to live, work and participate in their communities.

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 agencies, in addition to 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.
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