Quinn Aide Jumps to Top Substance Abuse Treatment, Mental Health Advocacy Group

(Springfield, IL) – A key aide to Governor Pat Quinn at the Illinois Department of Human Services has accepted a new post at a top substance abuse treatment, mental health advocacy group.

The current Director of Legislative Affairs for the Department of Human Services, Randy Wells, has been appointed to a newly created position of Vice President for Mental Health Policy at the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association the group announced on Wednesday.

“As the behavior health field has evolved in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, IADDA’s investment in its mental health policy agenda has evolved,” said IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe. “That evolution includes expanding the reach of our mental health policy agenda, and Randy will be vital to that expansion.”

In addition to his role under DHS Secretary Michelle Saddler, Wells previously led the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for Illinois for eight-years, Howe noted.

“Randy brings to the Association membership a long history and leadership experience in mental health policy, particularly at NAMI-Illinois,” said Howe. “Randy will be charged with tracking mental health legislation, working with the legislature and the new Administration, and devising recommendations and policy positions.”

The increasing co-occurring nature of mental illness and addiction demands a dual-track policy and advocacy strategy, says Howe.

“Because many of IADDA members provide mental health and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services and because a large portion of our clients live with both mental illness and addiction, mental health has assumed a prominent position on IADDA’s legislative agenda,” said Howe.

Wells said that his combined experience at the Department of Human Services and NAMI-Illinois create a natural fit and a return to his “advocacy roots”.

“Mental health policy and advocacy and addressing the needs of those struggling to recover from mental illness have shaped my professional career inside and outside of government,” said Wells. “By joining the staff at IADDA, I’m returning to my advocacy roots.”

Wells’ appointment will boost association growth, Howe says.

“IADDA’s investment in its mental health policy will not only better serve our current membership, but also, and more importantly, it will fuel association growth opportunities,” Howe said.

Before accepting the position at IADDA, the Office of the Executive Inspector General determined that Wells was in compliance with the “revolving door” ethics regulations.

He will officially join IADDA on January 20, 2015.

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