Denver-Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists Demands Reinstatement of Dr. Morgan Medlock as Colorado Behavioral Health Administration Commissioner
The Denver-Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists is appalled at the recently announced leadership change at the Behavioral Health Administration.
Denver, Colorado (April 24, 2023) – The Denver-Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists (Black Psychologists Association) is appalled at the recently announced leadership change ending Dr. Morgan Medlock’s tenure as Commissioner of the Colorado Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) and is calling for the reinstatement of Dr. Morgan Medlock as BHA Commissioner.
Dr. Medlock led the BHA authentically and transparently as a Woman of Color, while also delivering a message of hope for all people in Colorado. Her success is evident to the community as Colorado experienced one of the largest improvements in the National Behavioral Health Overall Rankings from 47 to 37, with even better results in the youth rankings from 42 to 13 during her tenure. A press announcement released by the BHA on April 13, 2023 (link was live as of April 24, 2023 @ 8:00 am MT) marked Commissioner Medlock and the BHA’s successes to date in advance of the Administration’s one-year anniversary.
The BHA was on pace to make history, implementing true transformational reform. The newly released statewide strategic plan was bold, yet achievable with a dynamic and thoughtful leader like Dr. Medlock at the helm of the BHA. Most importantly, the BHA strategic plan and the future of the behavioral health continuum intentionally emphasized and elevated the experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). Dr. Medlock was the only psychiatrist in the nation serving in this unique capacity of building an Administration from the ground up in partnership with representatives of lived experience.
Members of the Denver-Rocky Mountain Black Psychologists Association experienced our stories discussed in a way that was dignifying, rather than shaming. Dr. Medlock is the first government appointed official to listen while assessing needs, and work alongside BIPOC communities to envision a new reality for Colorado’s behavioral health system for our friends, family, and neighbors.
“Upon her arrival to the state of Colorado, Dr. Medlock included the Denver-Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists in her statewide tour,” says Dr. Anthony P. Young, Association President. “She continued her engagement throughout her tenure. We were provided a seat at the table and engaged as true thought partners.”
For the first time in our state, the Denver-Rocky Mountain Black Psychologists Association believed that meaningful systems change was on the horizon, and the recent decision to change BHA leadership will undoubtedly hamper the growth and positive trajectory of behavioral health care in our state.
The Denver-Rocky Mountain Black Psychologists Association urges Governor Polis to reconsider this decision, which will have a lasting impact on the people of Colorado and calls for a meeting with the Governor, our community of mental health professionals, and our allies to discuss accountability for this harmful decision.