Blake Named Deputy for Mental Health

Date: June 8, 2005

Contact: Communication Office

BURLINGTON – Vermont Health Commissioner Paul Jarris today announced the appointment of Paul R. Blake of Waterbury Center as Deputy Commissioner of Health for Mental Health Services.

Blake, who has been serving as acting deputy for several months, was the top candidate selected by a search committee made up of mental health care providers, advocates and consumers. He also won the endorsement of the two state standing committees that monitor mental health programs and advise the commissioner.

“Paul’s tenure in the mental health field in state government spans a period of nearly 30 years,” Dr. Jarris said. “He has a strong reputation for competence, he’s a good listener, and he understands the details of our many mental health programs.”

Jarris said Blake is “a strong leader who has earned the trust of mental health care providers and advocates, and of consumers and their families as well. We are very lucky to have him.”
Blake said his goal as deputy will be “to bring people closer together to work for change in a positive way.”

“I’m very proud of the mental health program we’ve built in Vermont over the past 20 or 30 years,” Blake said, “and I have a strong commitment to meeting the mental health needs of Vermonters.”

Blake has served as Director of the Division of Mental Health since 1993, providing overall leadership for all programmatic, administrative, and budgetary aspects of statewide community and institutional mental health services for both adults and children.

As Deputy, Blake becomes part of the Department of Health’s top management team, which also includes Deputy for Public Health Sharon Moffatt and Deputy for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs Barbara Cimaglio.

The Division of Mental Health joined the Vermont Department of Health in July, 2004, as part of the reorganization of the Agency of Human Services.

Prior to becoming Division Director, Blake had various roles within the Division of Mental Health, including Assistant Director, Adult Services Director, and Community Mental Health Operations Director, as well as positions at Vermont State Hospital as Chief of Social Service and as Psychiatric Social Work Supervisor.

Blake also has worked in the community provider system as Chief of Clinical Support Services at Howard Center for Human Services, and as an outpatient therapist at Washington County Mental Heath Service. He received his Masters of Social Work from the University of Connecticut in 1969.