Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Alan Levine announced today that Kathy Kliebert will serve as assistant secretary of the newly-created Office of Behavioral Health and Julia Kenny will serve as assistant secretary of the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities.

Kliebert, currently serving as assistant secretary of OCDD, becomes the state’s first assistant secretary of the Office of Behavioral Health, which, as of July 1, merges the offices of addictive disorders and mental health into a more streamlined and effective approach to serving individuals with behavioral health disorders. Kenny, currently the secretary’s Chief of Staff, will assume Kliebert’s role with OCDD. Secretary Levine has also appointed Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham as medical director for the new Office of Behavioral Health. Dunham is currently interim assistant secretary of the Office of Addictive Disorders. Additionally, Deputy Chief of Staff J.T. Lane has been named acting chief of staff.

“We look forward to Kathy taking on this opportunity to reshape how we deliver behavioral health services in Louisiana,” Secretary Levine said. “Her forward-thinking approach, effective leadership style and ability to lead change make Kathy an essential ingredient in our plans to enhance behavioral health care in our state.”

On the other appointments, Levine said, “Julia brings the heart of an advocate to her new role. Her passion for her work with citizens for developmental disabilities and  her strength as a leader and manager will help us carry on the great work we’ve done to provide individuals with the most appropriate and effective services.”

“Dr. Dunham completes the picture for us on the behavioral health side. Few people in the world have the level of both practical and research-based expertise in both mental health and addictive disorder sciences.”

The Office of Behavioral Health was originally created by legislation a year ago to increase efficiency, enhance service alignment and improve service delivery. The goal of the new office is to increase access to the most complete and appropriate care for the significant number of individuals with both mental illness and one or more addictive disorder, referred to as co-occurring disorder.

About Kathy Kliebert

As assistant secretary of the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities since 2004, Kathy Kliebert has successfully led a multi-year transition to move individuals out of institutions into more effective and appropriate community-based services, reducing the institution population by more than 26 percent. She has secured more than 4,000 new waiver slots to make that happen, and implemented a person-centered single planning method and needs-based assessment tools. She has been a strong advocate for those with developmental disabilities and has built a strong network of stakeholders and advocates to improve how the state delivers services.

Prior to taking her role as assistant secretary of OCDD, Kliebert served as diversification director of the Metropolitan/Peltier-Lawless Development Centers in New Orleans and Thibodaux where she led the expansion of community-based options for people with developmental disabilities. She has 17 years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker and has a master’s degree in social work. She serves on the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board and with the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

About Julia Kenny

Julia Kenny will assume her role as assistant secretary for the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities having spent more than 17 years in the non-profit sector with extensive experience in public policy and management specializing in populations that includes older adults and people with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. Before coming to LDH in 2008, Kenny was the Director of Governmental Relations and Advocacy for American Association of Retired People’s (AARP) Louisiana office, where she was instrumental in building community partnerships, facilitating volunteer engagement and supporting grassroots mobilization.

Prior to her work with AARP, Kenny spent most of her career working in the field of developmental disabilities, serving as a job coach, support coordinator, director of community supports and services, and  Executive Director of The Arc of Louisiana. Under her direction, the organization targeted leadership and advocacy skill development through issues education, legislative advocacy training and action alerts. Kenny was also responsible for developing several programs such as supported living.

Kenny has served on numerous community boards, committees and workgroups including the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, Louisiana Health First Medicaid Reform Advisory Group, Governor Jindal's Health Care Transition Advisory Council, the Louisiana Healthcare Redesign Collaborative and the Louisiana Association for Nonprofit Organizations Public Policy Committee. 

About Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham

Prior to her recent appointment as interim assistant secretary for the Office of Addictive Disorders, Dr. Head-Dunham spent four years as the office’s medical director and was instrumental in realigning services for those struggling with addictive disorders to the local level in effective community-based models of care.

Dr. Head-Dunham is a native of New Orleans where, since 1990, she has served as clinical assistant professor of psychiatry for Tulane University Hospital and Clinics and as physician consultant to Xavier University’s Institutional Review Board, Human Subjects Committee. She is board certified in both adult psychiatry and addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). Her expertise in each subject matter has pioneered many state and local efforts to advance knowledge, skills and application of standards of care in the treatment of co-occurring mental illness and addictive disorders. In 2001, she was awarded the “Advancing the Profession Award” by the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (CADA) in recognition of her commitment to the field.  In 2002, she was awarded Fellow status by the APBN. She attended Tulane University’s School of Medicine where she received her MD Degree in 1986 and was awarded the “Bick Scholarship Award for Outstanding Achievement & Promise in the Field of Psychiatry.”  She remained at Tulane the following year to complete a psychiatry internship in 1987. Subsequently, she transferred to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Psychiatry Residency Training Program in Bronx, New York, where she completed her residency training in 1990. In 1991, she returned to New Orleans and became the first to complete a Substance Abuse Fellowship at Tulane University School of Medicine.

About J.T. Lane

In October 2008, J.T. Lane joined LDH as deputy chief of staff overseeing the Bureau of Media and Communications and special projects and initiatives, including taking leadership roles in the Making Medicaid Better initiative and the oil spill response. Lane has ten years of experience in communications and organizational development.

He formerly served as director of communications for the Louisiana Family Recovery Corps where he directed the national, statewide and local communications and media relations efforts for the organization. The Recovery Corps was created in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in late 2005 to coordinate Louisiana’s humanitarian services during disaster. Prior to the Recovery Corps, he directed and managed the communications efforts for the research and economic development arm of Louisiana State University for nearly five years.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov