SAMHSA Welcomes Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Justine Larson, Senior Medical Advisor for the Center for Mental Health Services

Over the past 25 years, CMHS has worked to develop and implement behavioral health treatment, prevention, and recovery support programs for Americans with mental disorders and addictions.  Our work will soon get a bigger boost with the appointment of child and adolescent psychiatrist, Justine Larson, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S. as our new Senior Medical Advisor.

Dr. Larson’s expertise and leadership will be invaluable in applying a clinical lens across a broad spectrum of mental health programs. She will provide her medical and clinical expertise particularly in programs to support services for people with serious mental illness and serious emotional disturbance. She will help formulate public health policy initiatives and provide clinical expertise to senior leaders and program staff.  Dr. Larson will work closely with SAMHSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anita Everett, and across federal departments and agencies, to ensure federal coordination in the provision of effective treatment and services for people with serious mental illnesses.

Dr. Larson brings a wealth of academic, research, and practice-based expertise to her new role – especially in the areas of child and adolescent mental health, evidence-based treatment, and integrated care.  She is board certified in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and neurology and obtained her undergraduate degree from Columbia College with a major in Women and Gender Studies.  Dr. Larson received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a master’s degree in health sciences from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.  She trained in adult psychiatry at the Harvard Longwood residency program, and completed her training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Larson remained at Johns Hopkins as a full-time faculty member, where she conducted research in the area of access to care for under-served and minority populations.  Her publications have covered topics including barriers to behavioral healthcare for children and adolescents, parents’ perceptions of pediatricians providing behavioral healthcare, and the importance of involvement of youth and family voice in service development and provision.

After leaving Johns Hopkins, Dr. Larson became Medical Director for the Arlington County Community Services Board in Virginia.  As Medical Director for a county behavioral health system, she led initiatives in integrated primary care, evidence-based medication management, medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders, and organizational management in behavioral health settings.  Most recently, Dr. Larson has served as a consulting psychiatrist for an integrated behavioral health program at a Federally Qualified Health Center in the state of Maryland.  In that role, she provided education to primary care providers, curbside consultations, and direct clinical care.  She has been an active member with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and served as co-chair of the Committee on Systems of Care for youth with serious emotional disturbances.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Larson who will be joining CMHS this September.

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