This past June, President Obama, accompanied by the First Lady, made a trip to Indian Country. During the trip, the President announced several initiatives that build on the significant progress the Administration has made in the government-to-government relationship with tribal nations, and he also acknowledged the work that remains. SAMHSA has an important responsibility to build on our good work to promote prosperous and resilient tribal nations.
In support of the President's initiatives, SAMHSA has created the Office of Tribal Affairs and Policy (OTAP) to serve as SAMHSA's primary point of contact for tribal governments, tribal organizations, federal departments and agencies, and other governments and agencies on behavioral health issues facing American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations in the United States. Establishing OTAP will support SAMHSA's efforts to advance development and implementation of data-driven policies and innovative practices that promote improved behavioral health for AI/AN communities and populations.
OTAP will bring together SAMHSA's tribal affairs, tribal policy, tribal consultation, tribal advisory, and Tribal Law and Order Act responsibilities to improve agency coordination and meaningful progress. I have asked the new OTAP to work collaboratively with SAMHSA's centers and offices, as well as other federal agencies. I look forward to the meaningful progress that SAMHSA will make in partnership with tribal nations.
Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
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