Saturday, October 17, 2020

Stitt appoints three agency heads to permanent positions


OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 15, 2020) — Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the appointment of Carrie Slatton-Hodges as Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Dr. Lance Frye as State Commissioner of Health and Rachel Holt as Executive Director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

Slatton-Hodges, Frye and Holt will continue serving in interim capacities pending Senate confirmation in the 2021 legislative session.

“These leaders have provided strong visions and steady leadership for our state agencies and the people they serve while operating in their current roles,” said Gov. Stitt. “I am proud of the work they have collectively accomplished throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and I look forward to seeing how they will continue to move the needle in the health and care of our people as we work to become Top 10 in these critical categories.”

John Budd, Secretary of Agency Accountability and the state’s chief operating officer, says these appointments will help solidify the progress being made in critical state agencies.

“It is incredibly rewarding to help put exceptional leaders in positions where they can succeed,” said Budd. “It is even more rewarding when doing this expands the diversity of your leadership base and raises the overall talent level of the team working to improve the lives of Oklahomans.”

Slatton-Hodges has served as the interim commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services since Jan. 28.

Prior to her current role, Slatton-Hodges served 12 years as ODMHSAS deputy commissioner, overseeing treatment and recovery services through state-operated and contracted treatment providers across Oklahoma. In this role, she managed budgets, oversaw contracts, streamlined policy, developed cutting-edge programs, cultivated the workforce, expanded partnerships and integrated evidence-based practices across the State.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Nazarene University and a master’s degree in applied psychology from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. As a Licensed Professional Counselor for 29 years, Slatton-Hodges has hands-on experience in the field of mental health, has held a variety of clinical and administrative positions in both the public and private sectors and has experience delivering and managing all aspects of behavioral health services in rural and urban settings including the role of chief operating officer at Oklahoma’s largest Community Mental Health Center. 

“Carrie Slatton-Hodges doesn’t see challenges. She sees opportunities. She has dedicated her life to this work and has an impressive record building public-private partnerships that support Oklahomans with mental health and addiction issues,” said Corbett. “I look forward to continuing our partnership to improve access to care at all levels.”

Frye has led the Oklahoma State Department of Health as interim commissioner since May 22. 

Before joining OSDH, Frye served as the interim department chair, residency program director and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. He is also the State Air Surgeon for the Oklahoma Air National Guard (OKANG), serving as senior medical officer and advisor to The Adjutant General of Oklahoma for all OKANG medical issues.

Frye received his Doctorate in Medicine from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1993. He completed an internship in family medicine in 1994, a residency in obstetrics and gynecology in 1997 and completed additional training in urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery at the University of California in 1998.

After practicing medicine for several years, Frye’s desire to serve his country led him to join the United States Air Force in 2005 after receiving his commission through the Officer Training Corps. Upon completion of Commissioned Officer Training he attended Aerospace Medicine training at Brooks AFB where he was recognized as the Honor Graduate. He entered Air Force active duty as a flight surgeon at Nellis AFB before transitioning to the Air National Guard and moving to Tulsa in 2010.

“I am thrilled Dr. Lance Frye will continue to share his knowledge and experience to benefit Oklahomans while also continuing to enhance relationships with governmental public health and private community partners,” said Secretary of Health and Mental Health Kevin Corbett. “Dr. Frye has shown strong leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. His passion for public health and the desire to improve our state during this critical time will continue to be valuable for our state.”

On March 5, the Board of Juvenile Affairs appointed Holt to serve as interim executive director.

Holt holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from George Washington University. After graduation, she worked as a victim advocate for victims of domestic violence in the Washington D.C. court system and as a legal assistant for a small corporate law firm.

She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2007 with recognition for her participation in the interdisciplinary training program in child abuse and neglect.

During law school, she was a licensed legal intern in the school’s civil clinic and with the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office.

Upon graduation from law school, Holt was named an assistant district attorney for Oklahoma County where she served in the juvenile division prosecuting juvenile delinquents and youthful offenders.

She took a few years off to be home with her children before returning to the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office in July 2014. In August 2016, she started as deputy general counsel for the Office of Juvenile Affairs. She was named an assistant attorney general in November 2016 and was assigned as the general counsel for OJA. In December 2017, Holt joined OJA full-time as chief operating officer and senior general counsel.

"Rachel Holt has been an extraordinary leader at OJA," said Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives Justin Brown. "Her legal background combined with her passion for improving outcomes for youth in Oklahoma is the perfect combination of experience to lead the agency. I enjoy working with her and look forward to her continued leadership in this role."


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