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May 28, 2024

Media Contact:
Chase Cook, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-8649

Maryland Department of Health secures spot in The Link Center State Policy Academy to improve behavioral health care for people with developmental disabilities 

Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health today announced its selection to participate in The Link Center’s newly launched State Policy Academy alongside five other states. The Academy strives to improve accessibility and the quality of urgent and acute behavioral health care services, including through the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injury and other cognitive disabilities.

The Link Center’s State Policy Academy is a Project of National Significance, funded by the Administration for Community Living in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Maryland earned its place through a competitive application process.

“Maryland’s selection for The Link Center’s State Policy Academy underscores our commitment to building inclusive and equitable health service systems,” said Maryland Health Secretary Dr. Laura Herrera Scott. “Our participation affirms our dedication to securing treatment and support for every Marylander in need.”

The Policy Academy, led by the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators and the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed, will provide state-specific technical assistance and peer learning opportunities. The Academy seeks to formulate robust policies and encourage cross-system collaboration to ensure an inclusive urgent and acute behavioral health care system in each state.

“Ensuring accessibility to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities is crucial,” said Developmental Disabilities Administration Deputy Secretary Marlana R. Hutchinson. “By making this vital resource more accessible, we empower those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to seek the care and understanding they need during times of acute crisis.”

“The Link Center’s initiative aligns with our vision of a behavioral health continuum of care that is responsive to the diverse needs of our communities,” said Behavioral Health Administration Deputy Secretary Alyssa Lord. “We are excited to collaborate with our counterparts in other states to guarantee an equitable crisis response for every Marylander when they need it most.”

The selected states alongside Maryland are:
  • Georgia - Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities
  • Kansas - Department of Aging and Disability Services
  • Ohio - Departments of Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Addiction Services
  • Virginia - Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
  • West Virginia - Department of Human Services
For updates on Maryland’s participation in The Link Center’s State Policy Academy, follow the Department’s Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube and LinkedIn


The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement. 

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