Posted on: January 31, 2020
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has announced the selection of Dr. Aliya Jones as Deputy Secretary to head the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) beginning Jan. 2, 2020.
Jones will lead the Department of Health’s team that assures clinical quality across state mental health and addiction programs, seven state psychiatric hospitals and problem gambling and suicide prevention programs.
“With her professional experience integrating mental health and addiction, Dr. Jones is the right person to lead BHA in the future,” said Health Secretary Robert R. Neall. “It is imperative to have a leader with professional and clinical experience who understands today’s pressing issues from a medical perspective. Dr. Jones has worked across disciplines and has the local and regional expertise to enhance Maryland’s public behavioral health system.”
Serving approximately 278,000 people and 3,500 providers throughout the state, BHA has oversight responsibility for publicly funded inpatient and community behavioral health services to help individuals with substance-related, mental health and co-occurring disorders. BHA develops integrated processes for planning, policy and services to ensure a coordinated quality system of care is available to individuals with behavioral health conditions.
BHA programs and services promote recovery, resiliency, health and wellness for individuals who have or are at risk for emotional, substance-related, addictive or psychiatric disorders. BHA also is responsible for regulating and licensing all behavioral health programs in Maryland’s behavioral health system and has oversight responsibility to ensure provider compliance with the Code of Maryland Regulations and state policy.
“As a psychiatrist, it will be personally rewarding to make a difference in the public behavioral health care delivery system, an institution that has such great influence over the way behavioral health care services are delivered in this state,” said Jones. “I am thankful to Secretary Neall for his forward thinking and for calling for a physician to lead this administration.
“The behavioral health ecosystem is growing and thriving, and yet as we move forward we cannot leave anyone behind,” she added. “It is important for me to be an ambassador to communities that stigmatize mental illness and medications used to treat substance use disorders. As an addiction specialist in the time of this opioid crisis, I look forward to helping ensure we are moving in the right direction in all of our communities to combat this epidemic.”
With nearly two decades of experience in the medical field, Jones comes to MDH from Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore, where she served seven years as Chief of Psychiatry and Chair of Behavioral Health. She led 19 service programs, nine of which were created under her leadership, including the nation’s first court-involved diversion program.
Recognized statewide for her expertise and leadership, Jones has served on Baltimore’s Heroin and Prevention Task Force, the Maryland Hospital Association’s Behavioral Health Task Force, and Maryland’s Forensic Advisory Workgroup. She has an MBA from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business and a medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
“We face a number of challenges in behavioral health, including the ongoing opioid crisis. Managing the vast array of clinical and therapeutic treatments services, public awareness and prevention programs and other related efforts is no easy feat,” said Neall. “To have found someone who understands Maryland’s unique challenges is invaluable.”