Tom Watkins Named President, CEO and Executive Director of Mental Health Agency/Authority

Aug 11, 2013 by


Experience and commitment in the mental health field is key to assisting community

August 9, 2013 – The D-WCCMHA Board named Tom Watkins as its President, CEO and Executive Director of the public mental health system that serves Detroit and Wayne County. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience that will benefit the Agency as it moves forward and transitions into an Authority effective October 1, 2013.

“I am looking forward to working with Mr. Watkins and the passion he brings for helping people overcome the obstacles they may face in life” according to George Gaines, D-WCCMHA Board Chairman.

Over the years Mr. Watkins has used his life experiences to help others across our community, the state and as far away as China. Many know him as the former State Superintendent of Education, a title he held for many years. His enthusiasm for bringing knowledge to others has been a catalyst over the past seven years as he has served as a business and education consultant to clients in education, mental health, public, private, and non-profit sectors in the U.S. and China.

Tom Watkins has served as Deputy Director of Administration, Chief Deputy and Director of the State Department of Mental Health under Governor Jim Blanchard. Here he improved community-based service delivery to over 300,000 consumers and was responsible for re-accrediting hospitals serving persons with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.


Mr. Watkins is well-known for his integrity, advocacy and his leadership ability. He served as an elected member of the Wayne County Charter Commission, chairing the legislative committee in the early 1980s. He has roots in the Metro Detroit area and strong political, business, non-profit and foundation ties. He received his Master’s Degree in Social Work Administration and completed his course work for a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Wayne State University.

“We are very pleased with the selection of Tom Watkins to lead this new authority in Wayne County given his extensive background in health care,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “The wealth of knowledge and experience that Tom brings will be valuable as he works to bring better services to residents in Wayne County and to ensure they are receiving the best quality of care possible.”

The Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency serves over 72,000 consumers. The Agency provides services for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, serious emotional disturbance and substance use disorders.
The D-WCCMHA provides services and offers a culturally diverse network of community mental health programs, clinics, private therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists to adults with mental illness, individuals with developmental disabilities, children with serious emotional disturbances and persons with substance use disorders and their families.

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