Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D.

Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.; Executive Director, New Jersey Mental Health Institute, Inc.

Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D. is Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHA), an award winning, statewide trade association based in Mercerville, N.J. NJAMHA’s 125 members represent nearly 98 percent of the state’s behavioral health care market, collectively treat more than 1 million cases of mental illness annually and employ 50,000 New Jerseyans. Dr. Wentz is also the Executive Director of the New Jersey Mental Health Institute (NJMHI), a private, nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to promote quality mental health services through policy development initiatives, training, technical assistance, research, data collection, best practice development and anti-stigma and anti-discrimination campaigns.

In her official capacity, Dr. Wentz plans and oversees all long-term and daily operations of NJAMHA and NJMHI, including the overall administration, planning leadership, board functions, fiscal oversight and financial management, personnel administration, and the direction of all advocacy, lobbying, intergovernmental relations, marketing, training, technical assistance, communications, membership, media services, information technology and grant implementation.  She has more than 30 years of domestic and international experience in the health care, financial services and housing finance fields, as well as the academic sector.

Most recently, Dr. Wentz has devoted much of her time to developing a Tsunami Mental Health Relief Project through NJMHI to transport and support mental health experts who have volunteered to go to devastated regions of Sri Lanka to train local counselors, the medical community, teachers and religious and local leaders in how to identify and treat survivors experiencing post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems. The impetus for this project is very personal to Dr. Wentz, as she experienced the devastation of the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004 while vacationing in Sri Lanka.

Additional highlights of her career have included serving as the Vice President of Marketing, Public Relations, Planning and Development for Cornerstone Treatment Facilities in New York, where she spearheaded national health care reform efforts for the addictive diseases field in the Northeast; Director of Planning and Intergovernmental Relations for the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; and Marketing Coordinator for her own company, Cabinet Wentz in France through which Dr. Wentz formerly developed and marketed training programs to RCA, Goodyear, IBM and Lalique Crystal; as well as managed marketing and promotional activities for an international exchange program with Harvard University, the University of Paris and other worldwide institutions.

Dr. Wentz serves on the Advisory Board of the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health and the Mental Health Subcommittee of the Governor’s Task Force on Campus Security.

Dr. Wentz earned doctoral degrees from both the University of Paris and the University of Connecticut, as well as a Master of Arts degree from the latter institution.  In addition, she completed an Executive M.B.A. program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  Her undergraduate work was completed at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. Dr. Wentz is bilingual in French and English.

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