News Releases and Media Advisories

KDADS Announces Executive Leadership Team Promotions

For Immediate Release

November 27, 2023

For more information contact:
Cara Sloan-Ramos

Topeka, Kan. – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard today announced two promotions within the agency’s Executive Leadership Team. 

Andrew Brown, KDADS Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Commissioner, has been promoted to Deputy Secretary for Programs. In this new role, Brown will be responsible for the overall program services function of three commissions for the agency: Long Term Services and Supports, Behavioral Health Services, and the new Aging Commission. Brown will work across these commissions to provide leadership on program matters. Brown will continue to work on multi-branch policy efforts, inter-agency projects, stakeholder engagement, and continue to serve as a key strategic leader for the agency’s executive leadership team. Brown has served as BHS Commissioner since 2018 and joined the agency in 2017 as the BHS Prevention Program Manager.

“I am pleased to name Andy Brown as the KDADs Deputy Secretary for Programs,” KDADS Secretary Laura Howard said. “As Behavioral Health Services Commissioner over the last four years, Andy has demonstrated the leadership ability to make progress on key systems changes in the behavioral health system, including implementation of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics model and leading the state’s 988 implementation. I am confident he will bring the same strategic approach and strong relationship and partnership skills to this new role.”

Brown has nearly 30 years of experience in human services program management and public service. Prior to joining KDADS, Brown worked at Headquarters, Inc. in Lawrence, Kan., where he served as executive director and worked on statewide suicide prevention efforts. Brown earned a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Human Services degree and Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Washburn University in 2010 and a Master of Social Work, Concentration in Administration, Advocacy and Policy, from the University of Kansas in 2012. He was recently recognized with the 2023 Hope Humanitarian Award from Valeo Behavioral Health and the 2022 Wes Cole Public Servant of the Year Award from the Association of CMHCs of Kansas.

Drew Adkins, KDADS Behavioral Health Services Assistant Commissioner, has been promoted to Interim BHS Commissioner. Adkins will oversee the five divisions within the BHS Commission, including responsibility for the Mental Health and Substance Use Prevention Treatment and Recovery Block Grants, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) implementation, the response to the Nursing Facilities for Mental health (NFMH) Pre-Litigation Settlement Agreement, the client Assessment, Referral and Evaluation/Pre-Admission Screening and Resident Review (CARE/PASRR) program, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF), the Suicide Prevention State Plan, and the state’s plan for crisis response and 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

“Drew’s promotion to Interim Commissioner leaves BHS in very competent hands,” Howard said. “Drew will quickly step in to continue to affect change and build on the impactful strategic work BHS is implementing. Drew is a great communicator and the right choice to lead our behavioral health services programs. I look forward to seeing what more he accomplishes.”

Adkins, who has spent his seven-year tenure in state and federal government and has four years of direct human services leadership and project management experience, has served in the role of Assistant Commissioner since October 2021. He came to KDADS from the state of Missouri Department of Mental Health, with other roles at the Missouri Department of Economic Development and a three-year period working in the Missouri House of Representatives as a legislative and policy staffer.