AUSTIN, Texas – The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce the appointment of national mental health advocates Chacku Mathai, CPRP, and Roderick K. King, M.D., M.P.H, to its National Advisory Council.
The foundation’s 10-member council offers critical guidance and expertise to staff on strategic direction, major grant initiatives and other projects that will dictate the trajectory of the foundation’s impact in Texas. Council members have Texas-based or national expertise in mental health, consumer advocacy, public health, philanthropy and other fields related to the foundation’s mission of promoting the mental health of all Texans.
“We welcome these two influential leaders in mental health recovery and minority health, and look forward to their contributions on our National Advisory Council,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “Their extensive expertise and personal insight will be valuable as we strengthen our impact on mental health progress in Texas.”
Mathai, who was born in Kuwait, has over 25 years of experience in mental health and community-based addiction services, having served variously as a peer advocate, community organizer and educator, psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner, and program administrator. He is currently the director of the STAR Center at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Mathai previously served as associate executive director for the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services. He was an implementation partner for the New York State Center of Excellence for the Integration of Care, the SAMHSA Recovery to Practice Resource Center for Behavioral Health Professionals and the SAMHSA Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy. He served as a founding board member and advocate for Friends of Recovery-New York, a statewide coalition of people in recovery from addiction, and is regularly invited to trainings across the country on building collaborations across addiction and mental health recovery communities and systems. Mathai’s own personal experiences as a youth and young adult in addiction and mental health recovery in New York launched him and his family towards a number of efforts to advocate for improved services and supports.
King is currently executive director for the Florida Public Health Institute, an associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, and holds faculty appointments at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, where he formerly directed the Program on Cultural Competence in Research at the Harvard Clinical Translational Science Center. His academic work, teaching and key consulting roles focus on minority health policy and improving the health of underserved communities via leadership and organizational change to address health disparities. Prior to his current work, King was a regional director for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service. From 2010–2011, King was a senior advisor to the Bureau of Primary Health Care at HRSA, and now serves on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Minority Health. In 2011, King was one of twenty scholars in the Western Hemisphere selected for the new Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Program to engage in collaborative thinking, analysis and problem solving to improve the quality of life for communities in the region.
The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.