Discovery Behavioral Health, Inc., an expanding network of evidence-based mental health, substance use and eating disorder treatment centers, is pleased to announce the appointment of seasoned industry executive Jennifer Carvalho as President of Substance Use Division. Carvalho reports directly to DBH COO James Bailey.
Carvalho’s appointment coincides with her election to the board of directors of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, effective Jan. 1st, 2023. NAATP is the behavioral health industry’s trade organization, which advocates on methods, outcomes, research and education as it relates to issues of law, policy, funding and regulation that impact the delivery of addiction treatment.
With more than two decades of industry leadership, Carvalho most recently served as Vice President of DBH’s SUD division and as CEO of Casa Palmera, a substance use and mental health treatment center in Southern California that is part of the DBH family of brands. Her career experience also includes serving as CEO of Azure Acres Treatment Center in Sonoma County.
“Jen’s work in patient access to care, stigma reduction and workforce development are known throughout the behavioral health industry, and her public speaking and the sharing of her own recovery experience have been an inspiration to scores of patients. We welcome Jen as the newest member of our executive team,” says Peloquin.
Carvalho’s vision for mental health in both of her new capacities is focused on creating additional access to care through both policy and technology. “Our ability to navigate the shifting landscape of behavioral health is key to addressing the expanding national mental health crisis. Ease of connectivity creates access to care, and we do that through outreach efforts that allow for patient-centered paths to treatment, whether through a digital platform or inpatient services,” she says.
While her two new positions at DBH and NAATP share much in common, she identifies different challenges for each organization. “At Discovery Behavioral Health the goals for my team are operational. I focus on professional development and resource allocation that engenders success. Our strategic initiatives are developed in line with our core values – to provide the best possible clinical care and to expand that care to everyone seeking it.
“With NAATP, we are working on behalf of a national membership of providers. They are looking to us to reduce barriers to success, to create equitable paths for outcomes achievement. By guiding legislation, workforce development and parity efforts, we are able to effect change for the industry, which allows DBH and other providers a clear path to offering excellent care,” she says.
While the expanding opioid crisis must be among the nation’s highest healthcare priorities, Carvalho notes a recent report from the National Institute of Health concluding that one in five adult deaths in the U.S. today can be attributed to alcohol use.
“As a nation, we have yet to recognize or accept the full impact of alcohol in the way we have awakened to the opiate or fentanyl crisis. Alcohol is readily available, legal and socially acceptable. Therefore, treatment for its misuse should be similarly available, acceptable and effective. And, we do ourselves a disservice by focusing on one substance – the disease of addiction is persistent and deadly. Our efforts should be individualized and always focused on the primary diagnosis,” she says.