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OHA posts new behavioral health director

Friday, April 19, 2019

Steve Allen, a skilled clinician and national expert on behavioral health policy and state government reform, will begin his new job as the state behavioral health director on Monday, April 29.

Steve Allen will fill the role created in July 2018, when the Oregon Health Authority reorganized its behavioral health program. Mike Morris had been serving in the role on an interim basis until he retired in February.

Steve Allen last worked as a senior policy advisor at the Council of State Governments, where he worked with 10 states – including Oregon – to develop strategies to improve behavioral health services and outcomes for people involved in the criminal justice system. It was through this work that Steve Allen and OHA Director Patrick Allen crossed paths in 2018.

“He knows how to look under the hood of a state’s behavioral health system, diagnose its weaknesses, and set a strategic road map to ultimately improve the accessibility and effectiveness of a state's behavioral health system,” OHA Director Patrick Allen said. “I have full confidence that Steve has the experience and leadership qualities that we need to build a person-centered and recovery-oriented behavioral health system.”

Steve Allen also has first-hand clinical experience and understands the operational rigor necessary to operate successful organizations. Before his work with the Council of State Governments, Steve Allen served two years in the Minnesota Department of Human Services as the executive director of mental health and substance abuse treatment services. While there, he oversaw the operational functions of 19 transitional, residential and acute behavioral health facilities. He was responsible for strategic direction, as well as building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders and advocates.

Through his former role at the Council of State Governments, Steve Allen has become familiar with Oregon’s behavioral health stakeholders and advocates.

“I have been impressed by the level of dedication, passion and sophistication of Oregon’s behavioral health stakeholders and advocates,” Steve Allen said. “I am excited for the opportunity to influence statewide strategy to transform Oregon’s behavioral health system and better support recovery for Oregonians.”


Steve Allen, state behavioral health director

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