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Dr. Gary Blau

Senior Advisor for Children, Youth and Families; Office of the Assistant Secretary, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Dr. Gary Blau is a licensed clinical psychologist who serves as the Senior Advisor for Children, Youth and Families at the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). He rejoins SAMHSA after spending over fifteen years as the Chief of the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch where he provided national leadership for child, adolescent, and young adult mental health, and helped created “systems of care” across the United States.

Prior to rejoining SAMHSA, Dr. Blau was the Executive Director of The Hackett Center for Mental Health, the first regional center of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. After two highly successful years of growing The Hackett Center, Dr. Blau transitioned into the role of Emeritus Executive Director of The Hackett Center and Senior Fellow for Children’s Mental Health for the Meadows Institute. He has also served as the Bureau Chief for Quality Management and Director of Mental Health at the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Director of Clinical Services for the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern, Connecticut.

Dr. Blau is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Connecticut Governor’s Service Award, the Phoebe Bennet Award for outstanding contribution to children’s mental health in Connecticut, and the Making a Difference Award presented by Connecticut’s Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.  He was also proud that upon the occasion of his leaving Connecticut, the Governor proclaimed December 12, 2003, as ‘Dr. Gary Blau Day.”

For his national work, Dr. Blau received the HHS Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Service for his national leadership in children’s mental health, and he was the first recipient of the Rock Star Award, presented by Youth MOVE National for “being a true champion for the youth movement and advocate for youth voice.” This award has now been named the “Dr. Gary Blau Professional of the Year Award” and is given annually to a mental health professional who has distinguished themselves as a voice for youth.

Dr. Blau has been acknowledged as the “father” of Youth MOVE (Youth Motivating Others through Voices of Experience), which now has over 60 chapters nationwide, and as the “founder” of the “National Building Bridges Initiative (BBI),” which is focused on improving outcomes for youth who receive residential interventions.

Dr. Blau has over 70 professional publications and is the editor of nine books.  He currently holds faculty appointments as an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine, and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Louis A. Faillace Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the McGovern Medical School at University of Texas Health. He has also held a clinical faculty appointment at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr Blau also serves as Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, for the organization Social Current (which was created from a merger between the National Council on Accreditation (COA) and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities).

Dr. Blau received his B.A. degree in psychology from the University of South Florida (USF), and he was a recipient of the 2021 USF Distinguished Undergraduate Psychology Alumni Award, “In Recognition of Contributions to the Field of Psychology.” He received his doctorate from Auburn University.