CDHS names new director of the Office of Behavioral Health

Leora Joseph

Leora Joseph has been hired as the Director of the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) for the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). OBH now includes the two Mental Health Institutes at Pueblo and Fort Logan and Forensic Services. Joseph will lead the office in diversifying the programs and settings to serve clients’ individual needs and in providing timely services to get to the right outcomes sooner.

“We thought long and hard about the qualities of a new director that would best serve the needs of the community, patients and OBH,” said Michelle Barnes, executive director of CDHS. “Leora shares CDHS’s passion for providing patient-focused and community-centered services, and I know those we serve will be positively impacted by her leadership. Leora’s experience will be vital to our compliance with the consent decree and our success in helping Coloradans thrive.”

Joseph joins OBH following a career immersed in the criminal justice system, where she has amassed high-level leadership experience. She has fought for justice for the most vulnerable people for most of her career and will bring that spirit to OBH, which serves clients with the most significant behavioral health needs. Joseph’s arrival comes as the State is investing historic amounts of funding to increase capacity by building and renovating new facilities, including adding psychiatric inpatient and residential capacity for youth and adults, and transitioning patients to lower levels of care in their communities.

“We are ushering in a new era of behavioral health care, and we know that one size does not fit all in terms of the services we provide,” said Joseph. “We have an incredible opportunity to build on our services that meet the needs of individuals, families and communities.”

Joseph has served as chief of the Child Protection Unit in the Boston (Suffolk County) District Attorney’s Office and chief of the Special Victims Unit in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District. Her leadership roles include serving as managing chief deputy district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, chief of staff for the Colorado attorney general and general counsel and chief administrative officer at the Auraria Higher Education Center.