Governor Appoints Mental Health Ombudsman

Governor Sonny Perdue announced that he has appointed Jewel Norman as the State Disability Services Ombudsman. Norman will assume the position on July 16.

“Along with creating a stand alone agency for developmental disabilities, the appointment of Jewel Norman as the mental health ombudsman is another step in improving the state’s care and delivery of services to the mental health community,” said Governor Perdue. “Ms. Norman has a wealth of public and private experience managing human services.”

The mental health ombudsman is a five year appointment.

In January, the Governor organized a committee to nominate candidates for ombudsman. Members of the committee included Mary Burns, Nora Haynes, Tommy Hills, Vernon Keenan, Sharon McDaniel, Don Meck and Gwen Skinner.

“I look forward to working with the advocacy and provider community to promote system-wide improvements in mental health, developmental disabilities and addictive disease,” said Norman.

The ombudsman will investigate and make recommendations to the department and other agencies, establish a uniform state-wide complaint process, collect and record data relating to complaints with regard to service providers, recommend law and policy changes, and make a biennial written report documenting types of complaints reported by consumers.

“This is a great day for people with mental illness and co-occurring disorders and their families,” said Nora Haynes, President of the Georgia chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Jewel Norman has served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer of a large private for profit residential treatment facility.

She has also served as a regional vice president of a psychiatric hospital corporation and served as interim CEO for a number of larger comprehensive psychiatric hospitals.

Norman received her undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington and master’s degree from the University of Virginia.

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