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David de Voursney: Public servants advancing the public good

April 24, 2024
Advancing the public good: Steady and true


David de Voursney

MPP ’05
Division director at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Years in government: 17

David de Voursney implements the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Program (CCBHC) to increase the accessibility of comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder services across the United States. Since 2017, he’s worked with existing providers to build nearly 600 clinics. 

Changing the model: With the CCBHC program, we’re realizing a dream 60 years in the making, when President Kennedy signed the Mental Health Services Act. Since that time, states and communities have struggled to build a mental health services system that meets the significant level of community need. We are improving systems of care by supporting the development of clinics that meet federal standards and provide a comprehensive range of behavioral services. We are also engaging states to create sustainable funding sources for these important services.

On political transitions: What’s most important is individual leadership. It doesn’t matter if it is a Republican administration or a Democratic administration. 

My favorite leaders have dug into the issues and the policy and worked to address the significant need that exists across the country, regardless of party. My obligation as a civil servant is to follow and implement the laws that Congress passes. I’m paid to be independent and come to work every day to build the best systems I can. 

Rewards: I may be biased, but I do think SAMHSA has the best mission in government. I get to work on this incredibly complex and interesting problem that helps many people with special needs. It is very rewarding, and I feel like I have been able to make an impact over the years. I also am often struck by the really smart, energetic, and caring people I get to work with. To the next generation, if you want to make a difference and address pressing social issues, please join us! We need competent, hardworking people who care.

Advancing the public good: Steady and true

More in State & Hill

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