Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Terri White will be leaving office on Feb. 1 after nearly 13 years on the job.
White, one of the state’s longest tenured agency heads, was appointed commissioner in May of 2007 after joining the agency in 2001.
“It has been my deepest honor to serve as Oklahoma’s Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for the last 13 years,” White said. She also served as Oklahoma’s first female secretary of health from 2009 to 2011 under former Gov. Brad Henry.
Carrie Slatton-Hodges, who has served as White’s deputy commissioner, will be stepping into the role as interim commissioner. According to a news release from her office, White will continue working in the mental health field in Oklahoma.
An Edmond native and trained social worker, White has received significant praise over the years for her devotion to improving mental health services in Oklahoma.
She also played a key role in the state’s 2019 case against opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. As the state’s final witness in the trial, White grew emotional as she testified that drugmakers like Johnson & Johnson were to blame for the opioid crisis that has ravaged Oklahoma.
The department of mental health services is one of the largest state agencies with an operating budget of nearly $400 million and roughly 1,800 employees.
Under legislation signed into law last year, Gov. Kevin Stitt will get to appoint White’s successor.