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National Council on Behavioral Health - Charter

Indian Health Service
Rockville, Maryland 20852

Refer to:  OCPS


Effective Date:  May 18, 2015


  1. PURPOSE.  The National Council on Behavioral Health (NCBH) will advocate on behalf of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) for improved behavioral health by advising and assisting Indian Health Service (IHS) leadership concerning relevant behavioral health issues and policies while promoting integration of behavioral health into overall health care.
  2. MEMBERSHIP.  The NCBH is comprised of IHS behavioral health staff and is a permanent council of the IHS.
  3. EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE.  The NCBH Executive Leadership Committee (hereafter referred to as the Executive Committee) is comprised of the NCBH Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, and the Director of the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH).
  4. NOMINATING COMMITTEE.  The nominating committee is comprised of Federal IHS Area Behavioral Health Consultants for the purpose of nominating candidates for the position of Chairperson or Vice Chairperson or Secretary.  The nominating committee will develop a list of nominees based on their qualifications, past experience, and leadership ability.  The nominees must be given prior notice and accept the nomination before each election cycle.
  5. COMMITTEES.  The NCBH may establish either a standing or an ad hoc committee to perform specific projects or tasks.
    1. Chairperson.  The chairperson of the Executive Committee is an officer elected every two years by a simple majority vote of the NCBH membership.  The chairperson serves a term of two years.
    2. Vice Chairperson.  The Executive Committee Vice Chairperson is an officer elected every two years by a simple majority vote of the NCBH membership.  The Vice Chairperson serves a term of two years.
    3. Secretary.  The Secretary is an officer elected annually by a simple majority vote of the NCBH membership and serves a term of two years.
  7. VACANCIES.  If an Executive Committee Officer position is vacated during the year, the highest ranking Executive Committee member will call for nominations and vote for another Executive Committee member to fill the vacant office throughout the remainder of the unexpired term.  It is the responsibility of the highest ranking Executive Committee member remaining to call for nominations and oversee a vote for replacement within forty-five days of a vacated position.
  8. ROLES.
    1. Director, DBH.  The Director, DBH, serves as the primary point of contact to coordinate and communicate between the Director, IHS, the IHS Chief Medical Officer (CMO), and the Executive Committee.
    2. Chairperson.  In the absence of a Chairperson, the charter membership will be led by the Vice Chair.  The Chairperson:
      1. Serves as the Chief Volunteer of the membership charter.
      2. Provides leadership to the Executive Committee, who sets policy and to whom the membership charter is accountable.
      3. Guides and mediate Executive Committee actions with respect to organizational priorities and governance concerns.
    3. Vice-Chairperson.  Fulfill the Chairperson position in the absence of the Chairperson at meetings or serve as the Chairperson's proxy.
    4. Secretary.  The Secretary:
      1. Prepares and maintains minutes and records for all Executive Committee and membership charter meetings.
      2. Will review/monitor and verify the accuracy of the meeting minutes and circulate them to all Executive Committee members.
    5. Members.  All NCBH members will vote on NCBH motions.
  9. VOTES.
    1. Quorum.  A quorum is a simple majority of the NCBH.
    2. Vote on Motions.  A simple majority of votes will determine the acceptance or rejection of a given motion.  In the event of a tie vote, the NCBH Chairperson will cast a vote for the motion to proceed or not proceed.
    1. To the Director, IHS.  The Executive Committee Chairperson or the Director, DBH, will serve as the formal representative to present issues related to behavioral health to the Director, IHS.  The Chairperson will present the work plan for the NCBH for the coming year and report the progress made on the prior year's work plan.
    2. To other Chartered National IHS Professional Councils.  The NCBH Executive Committee will coordinate and communicate with national executive committees of other National IHS Professional Councils on program issues, action items, or policies of mutual concern.
    3. To Other Established IHS, Tribal, or Urban Indian Health Program Entities and Groups.  The Executive Committee may be asked to participate with other councils; Tribal and Urban Indian health boards; Headquarters Offices; or workgroups as directed by the Director, IHS or as needed to fulfill the NCBH obligations.
    1. Director, DBH.  It is the responsibility of the Director, DBH to:
      1. Ensure the Executive Committee has appropriate access to the Director, IHS, CMO, and other key management staff.
      2. Keep the NCBH informed of decisions on NCBH concerns made by the Director, IHS.
      3. Provide coordination among NCBH members regarding behavioral health services for the IHS/Tribally-operated facility or program/ Urban Indian clinic (I/T/U) system.
    2. Chairperson.  It is the Chairperson's responsibility to:
      1. Preside over all meetings and conference calls.
      2. Establish and activate ad-hoc committees to research, take action, and report on specific NCBH concerns.
      3. Coordinate tasks and reports among members of the Executive Committee.
      4. Develop and present position statements and recommendations to the Executive Committee for approval.
      5. Represent the position(s) of the NCBH at IHS Leadership meetings or other meetings, as required.
    3. Vice Chairperson.  It is the Vice Chairperson's responsibility to:
      1. Establish overall long and short term goals, objectives, and priorities for meeting the needs of the AI/AN communities in collaboration with the Chairperson and Executive Committee members.
      2. Assume the duties of the Chairperson in the event of his or her absence.
      3. Serve in any capacity as requested by the Chairperson.
    4. Secretary.  It is the Secretary's responsibility to:
      1. Assume the duties of the Chairperson in the event of his or her absence and the absence of the Vice Chairperson.
      2. Coordinate the preparation of monthly meeting agendas and communicate information to the Executive Committee.
      3. Record, maintain, and distribute meeting minutes to the Executive Committee and membership charter meetings.
      4. Serve as requested by the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, or the Executive Committee.
    5. Members.  It is the member's responsibility to:
      1. Attend and participate in regular committee, national, and combined council meetings.
      2. Participate in setting the IHS' strategic action agenda.
      3. Promote common understanding and implementation of the current Agency priorities, initiatives, and direction at an Area and local level.
      4. Recommend policy proposals for consideration by the Director, IHS in matters that directly affect the IHS.
      5. Contribute to the development of agendas for general, annual, and special meetings of the NCBH.
      6. Advocate and act on specific concerns of its membership in a professional and appropriate manner.
      7. Support and promote the President's, Department's, and IHS initiatives.
      8. Develop and maintain an up-to-date list of all IHS participating behavioral health programs in their respective Areas and communicate this list to the NCBH Secretary.
      9. Schedule and hold quarterly communications with their Area constituencies and the Executive Committee.
      10. Contribute to the development, support, and advocacy of behavioral health services for the I/T/U system including development of action plans, policies, and recommendations.
      11. Promote performance improvement and organizational development through effective leadership and management support for behavioral health service delivery.
      12. Promote activities and services that are culturally appropriate in raising the health status of AI/AN people.
    1. Scheduled Meetings.  Depending on the availability of funds, it is anticipated that the NCBH will convene at least one face-to-face meeting each year.  Other meetings, by means of teleconference, etc., will be convened, as needed.
    2. Ad-hoc Meetings.  Other ad-hoc meetings may be held for specific purposes as needed and resources allow.
    3. Votes.  Only committee members are allowed to vote.
    4. Attendance by Members of the Public.  Members of the public may be present at committee meetings.
    5. Listening Sessions.  The committee may seek advice from members of the public on an individual basis during listening sessions.  Listening sessions will be held on an as needed basis.
  13. SUPERSEDURE.  None
  14. EFFECTIVE DATE.  This charter becomes effective on the date of signature.

/Robert G. McSwain/
Robert G. McSwain
Acting Director
Indian Health Service

Distributed:  IHS-wide
Date:  May 18, 2015
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