Commissioner Berry statement on DBHDD personnel organization

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) remains committed to building and supporting a continuum of care for individuals with developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues in Georgia. To achieve this vision, we are building capacity in local communities to ensure the provision of high-quality care in the community and in our hospitals. As we proceed, members of our leadership team are vital to our success. We are at a critical juncture in the administration of these efforts, and collaboration between hospitals and community resources is of utmost importance. 

For this reason, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Charles Li will be taking the lead in our hospital system as director of hospital operations. Dr. Li will report to Dr. Emile Risby, DBHDD assistant commissioner and chief medical officer, and will direct activities at all DBHDD hospitals, while also serving as regional hospital administrator for Georgia Regional Hospital at Atlanta, one of DBHDD’s busiest hospitals. Dr. Li’s significant experience running hospital systems and community programs makes him uniquely qualified for this role. I have no doubt that Dr. Li will continue to make invaluable contributions to the department, and his teamwork with Dr. Risby will strengthen bridges between hospital and community-based services.

Concurrent with Dr. Li’s return to hospital operations, I have asked Dan Howell to serve as interim assistant commissioner of the Division of Developmental Disabilities. Most recently, Mr. Howell has served as acting regional hospital administrator for Central State Hospital. Mr. Howell is experienced in program administration and has led similar transition initiatives across the country. The department has begun a national search to recruit and select both a new assistant commissioner for developmental disabilities and a regional hospital administrator for Central State Hospital. In the interim, Mr. Howell and the hospital operations team will coordinate developmental disabilities and Central State Hospital support.

I am confident that Dr. Risby, Dr. Li and Mr. Howell, supported by competent and dedicated team members, will provide tremendous collaborative leadership in several key areas of departmental operations and services. Please join me in doing everything possible to support their efforts.

Frank W. Berry, Commissioner