Debra Wentz
Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D.
As CEO of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA), Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D., provides bold and innovative leadership and strategic planning, which has enabled her to transform a small, unknown organization into an award-winning trade association and to create a wholly owned private, nonprofit charitable organization, the New Jersey Mental Health Institute (NJMHI).

NJAMHAA represents 180 nonprofit hospital-based and freestanding behavioral healthcare provider organizations that treat more than 500,000 children and adults annually and employ 98,000.  NJMHI promotes equal access to quality mental health services through development of policies and best practices, training, research, and anti-stigma and anti-discrimination campaigns.

Dr. Wentz holds numerous Board and committee positions on the state and national levels, including the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Policy Committee, Legislative Network and Division of State Associations and Substance Abuse Advisory Group; NJ’s Administrative Services Organization/Managed Behavioral Health Organization Steering Committee and Fiscal Workgroup and the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Task Force on Heroin and other Opiate Use amongst NJ’s Youth and Young Adults.

She will be recognized in 2013 with the First Annual Gabriel Ambrosio Memorial Mental Health Humanitarian Award from Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare, the Citizen of the Year Award from the New Jersey Psychiatric Association, as the Achievement in Patient Advocacy Honoree from the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey and with the Inaugural Codey Award from Carrier Clinic, in addition to having received various awards, including most recently, the Public Service Award for NJAMHAA from the Council on State Public Affairs.  Dr. Wentz has also been recognized with the Welcome Back Award for Community Service from Eli Lilly and Company; the Golden Bell Leadership Award from the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, and the NAMI NEW JERSEY Freedom from Stigma Award.


Dr. Wentz earned a doctoral degree from the University of Paris; a doctoral and MA degree from the University of Connecticut; and an Executive MBA from the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania.  She completed undergraduate work at Goucher College, Maryland.  She is bilingual in French and English.