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Eastern Announces Commencement Speaker/Honorary Degree Recipient

Published on April 23, 2018

Eastern Announces Commencement Speaker/Honorary Degree Recipient

Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), will be the commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient at Eastern Connecticut State University’s commencement exercises on May 15 at the XL Center in Hartford.

McCance-Katz graduated magna cum laude from Eastern in 1978 with a degree in biology. Her sterling career in medicine, psychiatry, academic achievement and public administration culminated in August 2017 with her DHHS appointment, which made her the first assistant secretary-level director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at DHHS.

After earning her degree from Eastern, Dr. McCance-Katz went on to earn a Ph.D. at Yale University in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in 1984, and then received her M.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1987.

After completing a residency in psychiatry, she held teaching positions at the Yale School of Medicine, Brown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of California in San Francisco, the University of Texas and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

McCance-Katz is board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, with more than 25 years of experience as a clinician, teacher and clinical researcher.

Prior to her HHS appointment, McCance-Katz was Chief Medical Officer of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals from 2015 to 2017, and served as professor of psychiatry and human behavior and professor of behavioral and social sciences at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

She also was the Chief Medical Officer of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration from 2013-15; State Medical Director of the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs from 2007-13; and Medical Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Virginia Health Practitioners’ Intervention Program from 2003-07.

Dr. McCance-Katz has published numerous articles on clinical pharmacology and, along with her husband Michael, holds a patent for a method used to prevent specimen substitution in substance use screening.

More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive their diplomas at Eastern’s 128th annual graduation exercises at the XL Center on May 15, with an audience of more than 10,000 family and friends expected. In addition to McCance-Katz, dignitaries expected to attend include Eastern President Elsa Núñez; Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System; Yvette Meléndez, vice-chair of the Board of Regents for Higher Education; and Victor Funderburk, mayor of the Town of Windham.

Written by Edward Osborn

Categories: Health Sciences