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Delaware Health and Social Services

DHSS Press Release

Date: July 14, 2015

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498


NEW CASTLE (July 13, 2015) - Department of Health and Social Services Rita Landgraf has announced that she will name state Rep. Michael Barbieri as the new director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, effective Aug. 4. Representative Barbieri intends to resign from his 18th District House seat, effective Aug. 3.

"Mike Barbieri brings a wealth of knowledge about addiction and mental health services, and the needs of vulnerable people across our state," Secretary Landgraf said. "With his background in social work, and substance abuse treatment and recovery services, he is the ideal person to lead this division. His leadership is critical as our department enters the final year of a five-year Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice over required changes at Delaware Psychiatric Center and reforms in the state's community-based mental health system. In addition, he will help our division continue to respond to the state's ongoing addiction epidemic by managing increases in treatment capacity, along with reforms to public substance abuse treatment and recovery services."

Mike Barbieri was first elected to the state House representing the Newark area in 2008. He currently serves as Chair of the House Health and Human Development Committee.

"I will miss serving the people of the 18th District, and I thank them for the honor of representing them in Dover," Rep. Barbieri said. "After eight years in the General Assembly, I am prepared to take on this new challenge leading the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. I thank Secretary Landgraf for this responsibility and for her faith in my ability to serve in this new role. As Chair of the House Health and Human Development Committee, I worked with Secretary Landgraf on many of the critical issues involving mental health and addiction services. I know that working together in DHSS we can make a difference for the people of Delaware, especially vulnerable individuals dealing with mental health or addiction issues."

Barbieri's career has been devoted to combating drug abuse. Following graduation from the University of Delaware in 1972, he served as a probation officer in Philadelphia's drug unit. In 1973, he was awarded a fellowship from the Probation Department that allowed him to earn his master's degree in social work from Temple University. In 1989, he earned his doctorate from UD in urban affairs and public policy, with a concentration in health care delivery.

He formerly served as executive director of New Beginnings at Hidden Brook, a drug treatment facility in Bel Air, Md., and also as vice president of regional operations for Recovery Center of America, a subsidiary of National Medical Enterprise, in Washington, D.C. In 1992, he founded Crossroads of Delaware, a Wilmington-based adolescent substance abuse treatment program that serves some of the most vulnerable children in the state. He has been a licensed clinical social worker in Delaware since 1993.

Barbieri replaces Dr. Gerard Gallucci, who has been acting director since Kevin Ann Huckshorn resigned in October 2014.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Last Updated: Thursday July 16 2015
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