Mental Health Commission

The Mental Health Commission, composed of seven members, appoints the director of the Department of Mental Health with confirmation by the state Senate. Commissioners are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor, again with the confirmation of the Senate. The commissioners serve as principle policy advisors to the department director.

The Commission, by law, must include an advocate of community mental health services, a physician who is an expert in the treatment of mental illness, a physician concerned with developmental disabilities, a member with business expertise, an advocate of substance abuse treatment, a citizen who represents the interests of consumers of psychiatric services, and a citizen who represents the interests of consumers of developmental disabilities services. E-mail the Commissioners at MHCommission@dmh.mo.gov.

Kathy Carter picture

Kathy A. Carter, Four Seasons, Mo., served as the president/CEO of the Missouri Coalition of Community Mental Health Centers (MCCMHC) for 26 years until her retirement in December 2005. She also served as director of public affairs for the Missouri Association for Mental Health and president of the Jasper County Mental Health Association in Carthage. An active volunteer on behalf of people with mental illnesses, Carter is the recipient of numerous honors, including state and national Mental Health Volunteer of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Awards from various organizations, and the Eternal Flame of Hope Award from the Department of Mental Health's Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services. In 2005, the MCCMHC cited Carter as "The single most constant and influential force in the promotion of community mental health in the state of Missouri."

Dennis Tesreau pic

Dennis Tesreau is an attorney with the firm of Wegmann, Stewart, Tesreau, Sherman, Eden & Mikale, P.C. at Hillsboro, Missouri.  Dennis has extensive experience in Municipal Law, including City Attorney for the City of Herculaneum and former Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Herculaneum and City of Hillsboro.  He currently serves as Director of the Community Advisory Committee with the Missouri Foundation for Health, is former Director of Community Mental Health Board of Jefferson County, former Board Member of the Children’s Learning and Rehabilitation Center, and former President of Jefferson County Bar Association.

Neva Thurston picture

Neva G. Thurston, Jefferson City, is a parent of an adult son with a developmental disability. Having served for over 7 years on the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities in a variety of capacities including Chair and Committee Chair of the Self Determination Committee, Neva brings a wealth of knowledge on family issues to the Mental Health Commission. She served as a delegate to the National Association of Developmental Disabilities Councils (NADDC) and a member of Cole County Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. She worked as a contract nurse for the US Department of Labor, a Rehabilitative Consultant for Conservco/Traveler’s Insurance, development of the Intensive Care Units,  Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit  at Memorial Community Hospital,  known today as Capitol Region Medical Center.  Neva’s background and experience in the healthcare industry is critical.

Steve Roling

Steve Roling, Kansas City, served as President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City until 2013 when he retired. Steve obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Steve is married to his wife Judi who is a nurse practitioner and they have two grown daughters who live in the Kansas City area. Steve started his career as resident director of a youth treatment center in Marshall, Missouri while he was still in college and graduate school. After graduation, Steve worked as a community organizer for MASW for over one year. He then became a legislative assistant to former United States Senator Tom Eagleton in Washington, D.C. For six years Steve worked with the Senator on human service issues. He then came back to Missouri and was a banker for four years. In 1985, he became Publisher of the Kansas City Business Journal for six years. In 1991, he joined the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and became the Senior Vice President of the foundation until 2002. In 2003, former Governor Bob Holden appointed Steve as the Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services. In that role he was responsible for a $6.2 billion budget with over 8,500 staff and 300 local offices located throughout the state. After serving as the Director of Social Services, he then became President/CEO of the $472 Million Health Care Foundation. Steve worked with a dedicated Board of Directors, and seventeen staff who were committed to improving the quality of health care in the region for the medically indigent and underserved.

Gary Duncan

Gary D. Duncan, Joplin, formerly the Executive Director for the Freeman Foundation and previous President and CEO of Freeman Health System. He currently is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Midwest Transplant Network of Kansas City and Hospital Services Group Foundation of Jefferson City. Gary served as a Founding Board of Directors member for the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Joplin and the Board of Directors with Arvest Bank in Joplin. He also has a long history of volunteer work with local Joplin community organizations as well as statewide organizations including the Missouri Hospital Association.