In the news: Kevin M. Simon
In an important step in the ongoing work to meet Bostonians’ health needs, address longstanding gaps in access, and elevate mental and behavioral health as a Citywide priority, Mayor Michelle Wu and Bisola Ojikutu, commissioner of Public Health and executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), announced Kevin M. Simon, M.D., as BPHC’s first-ever chief behavioral health officer. Simon will provide leadership and oversight in developing and implementing a comprehensive behavioral health agenda for the city through a public health lens. Simon’s initial focus will be on immediate and long-term strategies to support youth mental health.
“Bostonians, especially our young people, are experiencing a mental health crisis that requires an urgent, wrap-around public health approach,” said Wu. “By investing in a new chief behavioral health officer, we are prioritizing building an equitable and coordinated citywide response to the increasing mental and behavioral health needs of our residents. Dr. Simon’s expertise and vision is unmatched, and we are thrilled to see him step into this leadership role.”
Raised as the son of Haitian parents in Brooklyn, New York, Simon has lived in Boston for over four years. Currently, Simon is an assistant in psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital, an Instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Health Policy at Harvard University, and the medical director of Wayside Youth & Family Support Network, a child welfare and community behavioral health agency. Clinically, he practices as a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist caring for youth, young adults, and families through the Adolescent Substance Use & Addiction Program (ASAP) at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“Our young people are facing enormous challenges impacting their health and well-being. Many families cannot access, afford, or navigate the maze we call our mental and behavioral health systems. I have dedicated my career to caring for, observing, thinking, and writing about people experiencing mental and behavioral health struggles while advocating for improvements in our care systems. Persons and families going through those struggles will continue to be my priority,” Simon said. “I am eager to build on Mayor Wu and Dr. Ojikutu’s leadership, commitment, and vision to urgently address our youth mental health crisis and develop sustainable community-driven solutions that meet the needs of our City’s youth.”