J. Kate Burkhart was named executive director of the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the Alaska Mental Health Board, effective Dec. 3, 2007.
Burkhart comes to the position from the State of Alaska Office of the Ombudsman, where she was an assistant ombudsman.
Previously, she spent seven years as a lawyer in both Alaska and Tennessee. Her practice focused on poverty law, domestic violence, Native and tribal law, and included work on behalf of mental health consumers and those experiencing substance abuse problems. She often represented clients who were low-income, elderly, or children, and served as a guardian ad litem for children taken into state custody.
Burkhart holds a law degree from Tulane Law School, and a bachelor of arts from Ursinus College.
As executive director, Burkhart plans to capitalize on her experience building collaborative relationships between diverse organizations. Her teambuilding experience, paired with her familiarity with state government, gives her a strong foundation in her leadership role with the boards.
The Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (ABADA) and the Alaska Mental Health Board (AMHB) are the state agencies charged with planning and providing community education on behavioral health services in Alaska. The joint mission of AMHB and ABADA is to advocate for programs and services that promote healthy, independent, productive Alaskans.