The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has named UTEP Provost Junius Gonzales, M.D., to the National Advisory Council for The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). His term begins Dec. 1 and runs through Nov. 30, 2017.
“I am truly honored to have been selected for this important national council and will work hard to apply my expertise to its mission, near and dear to my heart, of improving treatment of substance abuse and mental illness and increasing prevention services throughout the country,” Gonzales said.
SAMHSA’s annual budget is nearly $3.5 billion and the agency provides critical leadership for improving care for substance abuse and mental illness – which are public health priorities – especially through its work with all 50 states and territories and support of evidence based practices through its National Registry. The SAMHSA National Advisory Council provides advice to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and SAMHSA is charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability and cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. SAMHSA was the lead agency in launching a landmark White House Conference on Mental Health held June 3.
This is the second time Gonzales has been appointed to a National Advisory Council for a federal agency. He served on the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality’s council from 2009-11. Other significant recent appointments include the Executive Committee of the Council on Academic Affairs for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and appointment to the National Institute of Drug Abuse Advisory Council Work Group on Adoption of Evidence Based Practices. He is serving a second three-year term on the editorial board of the prestigious journal Health Services Research, and regularly serves on NIH Research Center review panels (CTSA, RCMI, COBRE).
Gonzales has had significant research funding totaling more than $12 million in lead roles such as PI or co-PI from federal agencies such as NIH, CDC, SAMHSA, AHRQ, STPI and private funders such as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He designed and conducted evaluation studies of federal programs such as the NIH Director Pioneer’s Award and the NIH Fogarty Center’s AITRP program. Gonzales is completing scholarly work on his $1.24 million CDC research grant to adapt an evidence-based intervention for Latinos with chronic medical diseases. He also currently chairs the National Advisory Board for a large National Institute of Drug Abuse grant to provide research education and training for community partnered organizations and The University of South Florida to improve services for children and adolescents with substance abuse problems.
Immediately prior to joining The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs in February 2011, Gonzales was the founding Dean of the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences and Executive Director of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida (USF). Gonzales brought more than 20 years of expertise in the strategy, execution and program/policy development of academic and research endeavors, collaborations with universities, industry, nonprofits and government entities, and a leadership record in scientific portfolio management and higher education fulfilled by prioritizing cross-sector partnerships. His deep and broad experiences were cultivated in different settings – academia (Georgetown, USF), the federal government (National Institutes of Health), and the private for-profit sector (Abt Associates).
Gonzales received his B.A. from Brown University, his M.D. with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.B.A. with honors from the University of Maryland. He completed his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health.