Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is nominating Nancy Navarretta of Hamden to serve as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
In this role, she will succeed Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, who left the position in June following her appointment by President Joe Biden to serve in his administration as assistant secretary for mental health and substance use at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Navarretta, who has been the department’s deputy commissioner since 2015, has been serving as its acting commissioner for the last several months. Governor Lamont explained that her effective leadership during this transition period has been so impressive that he asked her to permanently stay in the position.
“Nancy has dedicated her career to behavioral healthcare service delivery and improvement, and is highly regarded among her peers throughout the region, including the many private providers the state partners with on these services,” Governor Lamont said. “We need strong leadership on these issues at this time, particularly when it comes to the impact that the opioid epidemic is having on our country and the growing mental health needs resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an important responsibility, and I appreciate Nancy for agreeing to help lead Connecticut’s efforts on this front.”
Navarretta joined the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in 2013, first serving as director of behavioral health services and then becoming deputy commissioner two years later. As deputy commissioner, she has been responsible for helping develop the department’s strategic planning and continuous improvement of its public-private partnerships, which provide one of the nation’s most comprehensive continua of mental health and addiction services, supports, and lifespan prevention networks.
The department provides adult behavioral healthcare to approximately 100,000 individuals annually. In addition to operating two state hospitals, it partners with local mental health authorities and more than 150 contractors in the private sector.
“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to continue to lead the incredible team at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services as we continue to prioritize accessible, integrated behavioral health systems of care which are informed by multiple stakeholders including individuals with lived experience,” Navarretta said. “I appreciate Governor Lamont’s confidence in my leadership and look forward to collaborating with sister state agencies and partnering with stakeholders statewide to continue supporting individuals struggling with mental health concerns and those affected by the opioid epidemic, by providing holistic, comprehensive, and effective services and supports that foster dignity, respect, and self-sufficiency in those we serve.”
Prior to joining state service, Navarretta served as chief operating officer of the nonprofit behavioral health provider Liberation Programs, Inc. in Norwalk; as chief of behavioral health services for the nonprofit, federally qualified health center Cornell Scott-Hill Health Corporation in New Haven; and as clinical director of mental health and substance use programs for Fairfield Community Services. She is also a licensed professional counselor trained in mental health and addiction specializing in the treatment of trauma-related disorders.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Boston College, and a Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology from Fordham University.
Navarretta will begin serving as interim commissioner effective immediately. Her nomination will be forwarded to the Connecticut General Assembly for its consideration when the next regular session begins in February.