Conference Speakers

Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins currently serves as the President and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority (DWMHA). Working with a dedicated community board of directors, leadership team, staff and host of provider networks to manage and lead a comprehensive system of care that offers treatment and support to over 100,000 people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance use disorders. He has quickly installed the new mission of being consumer and community-focused, evidence-based and data driven. Under his leadership, DWMHA has already begun to examine current practices and reduce administrative costs in order to deliver as much funding as possible for quality programs and services as the organization continues to “put people first”.

His career and commitment to serving people spans over three decades. Tom served as Deputy Director of Administration, Chief Deputy and Director of the State Department of Mental Health under Governor Jim Blanchard. Here he improved community-based service delivery to over 300,000 consumers and was responsible for re-accrediting hospitals serving persons with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.

Mr. Watkins’ also worked for years as the Deputy and Director of the State of Michigan Department of Mental Health. It was in this role where he re-accredited all hospitals serving patients with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities and improved community-based service delivery to over 300,000 patients in a cost-effective manner.

Tom served the citizens of Michigan as State Superintendent of Schools; there he used a yard stick in his office as a guide to other staffers. The yard stick was a reminder that their service, care and advice – must all “measure up” to the quality that would be acceptable to what would be offered to their own children and family members.

Tom has always held the mantra of “putting people first”. His commitment to improving the quality of life of others has taken him from schools, to group homes to mental hospitals. He is passionate about his work and passionate about helping people.