Gov. Rick Snyder today issued Executive Orders 2013-6 and 2013-7 to support mental health initiatives in Michigan.
"Mental health is just as important as physical health," Snyder said. "I am pleased to address this critical health care concern, and I look forward to finding solutions to improve education, prevention, treatment of and recovery from mental illnesses."
EO 2013-6 creates the six-member Mental Health and Wellness Commission within the Michigan Department of Community Health, which will serve in an advisory role to the department to help strengthen the state's mental health system. The diverse components of this task include considering the best solutions for education, public safety, veterans, independence, and service delivery.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will chair the commission and DCH Director James Haveman will serve as vice chair. The other four members will come from the Legislature and will represent both the majority and minority caucuses from the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The commission will issue a report of its findings by Dec. 20.
EO 2013-7 provides an ongoing examination of mental health issues in Michigan by creating the 14-member Mental Health Diversion Council within DCH. It will develop a method of diverting individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems out of the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment. The governor called for this council in his State of the State address as well as his Public Safety and Health and Wellness special messages.
This council will include Calley, who will serve as chair, and designees of Haveman and Michigan Department of Corrections Director Daniel Heyns. Designees will serve two-year terms expiring Jan. 30, 2015. They are:
Lynda Zeller, senior deputy director of DCH's Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration, has more than 25 years of experience in mental health. She previously worked at DOC and the Kent Health Plan Corp. She earned a bachelor's degree from Greenville College and a master's degree from Western Michigan University.
Joanne Sheldon is the health services administrator for DOC. Previously, she worked as the chief executive officer of LifeWays in Jackson and Hillsdale counties. Sheldon graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont and a master's degree from the University of Michigan School Of Public Health.
The governor also appointed 11 other members.
Lori Ryland, of Battle Creek, will represent a Medicaid pre-paid inpatient health plan for a three-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2016. She is the chief clinical officer of Venture Behavioral Health, and previously worked for the Barry County Community Mental Health Authority. She graduated with a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a doctorate from Western Michigan University.
Jessica Parks, of Potterville, will represent the State Court Administrative Office for a three-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2016. She is the problem-solving courts manager for the Michigan Supreme Court. In her previous work with the court, she managed a $4.95 million jail diversion court program. She holds a bachelor's degree from Hope College and both a master's degree and doctorate from Kent State University.
Risa Coleman, of Farmington Hills, will represent adult service agencies and providers from a local community mental health service program for a three-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2016. Coleman is the director of clinical services at the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency, and holds both a bachelor's and master's degree from Wayne State University.
Judge Curtis Bell, of Kalamazoo, will represent the judiciary for a three-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2016. He is the presiding judge of the Family Division of the 9th Circuit Court of Kalamazoo County as well as an adjunct faculty member at Western Michigan University. He earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a degree from the University of Iowa College of Law.
Ronald Schafer, of Portland, will represent prosecutors for a four-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2017. He is the Ionia County prosecuting attorney, and supervises the prosecutor's office's participation in sobriety court, veterans court, drug court and mental health court. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a degree from the Detroit College of Law.
Elizabeth Hardwick, of Horton, will represent community prisoner or jail re-entry for a three-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2016. She is the COO of Professional Consulting Services, overseeing the re-entry project for offenders with special needs. Hardwick holds a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University and a master's degree from the University of Michigan.
George Strander, of Albion, will represent court administrators for a four-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2017. He is the court administrator and probate register for Ingham County Probate Court, and also serves as a referee for Ingham County Circuit Court. He earned a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, a master's degree from the University of Washington, a doctorate from Brown University and a degree from the University of Michigan Law School.
Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, of Macomb, will represent county sheriffs for a two-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2015. After working through the ranks in the Macomb County Sheriff's Office, Wickersham now serves as sheriff. He holds an associate degree from Macomb Community College and a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University.
Timothy Bourgeois, of Parchment, will represent local law enforcement for a four-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2017. With more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, he now is the chief of police for the Charter Township of Kalamazoo. He graduated with an associate degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a bachelor's degree from Siena Heights College and a master's degree from Western Michigan University.
Christopher Cooke, of Traverse City, will represent licensed attorneys with experience in representing individuals with mental illness for a four-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2017. He is the owner of Cooke Law PLLC, where he serves as corporate counsel for multiple municipalities and a community mental health agency. Cooke earned a bachelor's degree from Albion College and a degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Irva Faber-Bermudez, of Royal Oak, will represent advocates or consumer representatives for a four-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2017. She is the president and CEO of Detroit Central City Community Mental Health Inc., the clinical partner for the Wayne County Mental Health Court. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a master's degree from Wayne State University.
"We need to focus more attention on bettering mental health awareness and education across all departments in Michigan," Calley said. "I am eager to begin working on these initiatives to address a fundamental need in our state."
The full text of EOs 2013-6 and 2013-7 are available at www.michigan.gov/snyder.