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Dr. Kathleen Burke Named to National Commission


Will County Health Department’s Dr. Kathleen Burke Named To Nationwide Commission On Mental Health & Wellbeing

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has announced 14 county leaders appointed to the new Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing, including Will County Health Department’s Dr. Kathleen Burke. The group, unveiled at NACo’s Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., is tasked with leading the development of policy and programmatic recommendations at the federal, state, and local levels to address systemic issues contributing to the ever-growing mental health crisis.

“In 2021, nearly one in four U.S. adults and one in five adolescents experienced a mental illness,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey. “This commission understands the urgency of the moment. It’s made up of people who, in their own communities, are seeing the effects of the mental health crisis, and have an idea of where we need to start in order to address it.”

Dr. Burke serves as the Coordinator of Substance Use Initiatives in the Behavioral Health Division of the Will County Health Department. In this role, she manages the Illinois Drug Overdose Prevention Project in Will County and is a member of the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council. Dr. Burke offers Naloxone training throughout Will County to prevent overdose deaths. She also leads the Recovery Coach/Peer Support Specialist Workforce Development Project and the Naloxone Rapid Response Program. She is a member of the Governors State University (GSU) faculty and serves on GSU’s Addictions Studies and Behavioral Health Advisory Committee. Additionally, Dr. Burke serves on the Will County Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) Collaborative Executive Committee and is the Behavioral Health Action Team Chair. She also is on the Stepping Stones Treatment Center Board of Directors and is a Will Grundy HLM Recovery Oriented System of Care Council Member.

“I am passionate about creating access to behavioral health services for the community, both mental health and substance use, in the same manner in which we have access to health care,” said Burke. “Stigma has been allowed to influence the systems of care within communities and as an educator I recognize the first step in getting rid of bias and barriers is accurate knowledge.”

Counties are well-positioned to lead action on the mental health crisis because counties play an integral role in local health, justice and human services systems. Direct mental health service delivery responsibilities are falling increasingly to America’s counties, which serve as the nation’s safety net for residents in need, act as first responders, operate crisis lines, and manage public hospitals and detention centers.

“I am excited about working with a cross section of experts in the field to unearth the models that work in our communities and identify ways to fill the gaps for counties across the US,” Burke said.

For more information about NACo’s Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing, visit: