Over the years, SAMHSA has led or conducted significant programs and other efforts to address the needs of tribal nations and American Indian/Alaska Native populations. Organizationally, this work has been housed in several different locations within SAMHSA, making coordination difficult. Given the increasing interest in behavioral health issues of tribal nations, SAMHSA is creating an Office of Tribal Affairs and Policy (OTAP) to bring together in one office several of the tribal functions within SAMHSA. OTAP will 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 Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States. OTAP will bring together SAMHSA's work on tribal affairs, tribal policy, tribal consultation, tribal advisory councils, and Tribal Law and Order Act responsibilities to improve agency coordination and meaningful progress.
I have asked Mirtha Beadle, M.P.A., who currently serves as the Deputy Director for the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, to lead this new office. Many of you know that Ms. Beadle has worked with me on tribal issues at SAMHSA and in her prior roles in the HHS Office of the Secretary. She will be joined in OTAP by Sheila Cooper who serves as Senior Advisor for Tribal Affairs and the staff of the Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse (OIASA).
Rod Robinson, Director of OIASA for the last 2 years, has taken another federal position that will allow him to be in his home state of Montana more often, as well as here in Washington, DC. We thank Mr. Robinson for his commitment to improving the lives of tribal communities and his work to advance SAMHSA's responsibilities under the Tribal Law and Order Act. Ms. Beadle will also serve as Acting OIASA Director until the position is filled permanently.
Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., SAMHSA Administrator