Job Overview


The Indian Health Service is required by law to give preference to qualified applicants who meet the Secretary of the Interior's definition of Indian for appointment to vacancies within the IHS in accordance with established IHS policy as outlined in the Indian Health Manual Part 7, Chapter 3. The Indian Health Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The IHS is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). The IHS goal is to raise Indian health status to the highest possible level. IHS provides leadership and direction to programs and activities designed to improve health outcomes to over 1.9 million AI/AN through a system of IHS, Tribal and Urban operated facilities and programs. For information on the IHS visit IHS.GOV.

This position is located in the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) within the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services (OCPS), Indian Health Service (IHS), Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS). The incumbent of this position serves as the Director of DBH and provides overall leadership and administrative direction and oversight in the planning, development, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of DBH Programs.    

The DBH serves as the primary source for technical support and assistance to behavioral health programs nationally on a broad range of important public health topics, including alcohol and substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, sexual assault, and access to and quality of care. Within these programmatic areas, the DBH administers targeted initiatives, such as, the Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI), the Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI; which includes the National Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team (SANE/SART) Program), Behavioral Health Integration, and Telebehavioral Health.


The responsibilities of the DBH include, but are not limited to the following: (1) Applies identified profession and program standards, monitors, and evaluates community and Area-wide services provided through grants or contracts with AI/AN Tribes, villages, organizations, and direct IHS operations for mental health, social services, and alcohol/substance abuse; (2) coordinates AI/AN community behavioral health programs including alcohol/substance abuse prevention and treatment, mental health, and social work with program directors, division staff, Area staff, and other agencies and institutions; (3) coordinates contracts and grants for behavioral health services and monitors services provided; (4) makes program and policy changes using data analysis, recommendations from operational levels, research results, and coordinates resource allocations from program policies; and (5) measures and evaluates the quality of behavioral health care services.   


The incumbent of this position reports to the Director, Office of Clinical and Preventive Services.


Who may apply

  • Merit Promotion Plan (MPP); these are current or former Civil Service employees; PHS Commissioned Officers; or Veterans applying under VEOA
  • Excepted Service Examining Plan (ESEP: American Indians and Alaska Natives with no prior federal experience.

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  • Provides administrative oversight which includes the agency's mental health, social services, and substance abuse programs. Activities include, but are not limited to the following: (1) developing plans and strategies for the administration and delivery of behavioral health services; (2) identifying solutions to improve processes and increase accuracy and efficiency in program administration; (3) compiling and analyzing data to support decision-making; (4) monitoring progress in systems improvement; and (5) continually analyzing information on promising trends in behavioral health care to ensure best practices in the Indian Health System.


  • Provides budget and financial management planning, consultation, formulation, and execution; interprets qualitative and quantitative data; evaluates key financial indicators, trends, and historical data; prepares routine or special reports on budgetary goals and plans; manages, reviews, and coordinates contracts, grants, and agreements; and promotes efficient and effective spending in planning travel, conferences, and meetings, as required.


  • Supervises technical and professional staff employees and manages their activities and work flow including timeline adherence, work plans, training on job responsibilities, workforce development, and performance management. Recruits, interviews, and selects candidates. Fosters diversity and develops high quality, customer service-oriented, and culturally competent work teams and service delivery strategies in alignment with agency goals and priorities.


  • Provides leadership for all DBH program activities involving a wide range of professions and programs related to behavioral health involving psychiatry, psychology, social services, psychiatric nursing, and public health and functions as part of a multi-disciplinary team which may impact or affect the goals, objectives, and accomplishments of DBH. Serves as a subject matter expert in behavioral health programs and issues, and the behavioral health profession.


  • Plans, implements, and provides reports on program progress to senior leadership. Reviews congressional and legislative actions, assesses impact on public health activities, and initiates actions accordingly. Leads and guides activities to support program evaluation. Creates and maintains good working relationships with behavioral health care partners. Prepares testimonies, policies, briefings, and responses to inquiries to be used in hearings and executive reviews.