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DBHDS News Releases


Governor McAuliffe Announces Administration Appointments


RICHMOND, VA –Governor Terry McAuliffe announced additional appointments to his administration today. The appointees will join McAuliffe’s administration focused on finding common ground with members of both parties on issues that will grow Virginia’s economy and create more jobs across the Commonwealth.

Secretariat of Health and Human Resources

Debra Ferguson, Ph.D., Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

Debra Ferguson, Ph.D., is the Senior Deputy & Chief of Clinical Operations for the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health (DMH). Dr. Ferguson is a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist having received her Bachelor’s Degree from Williams College, in Williamstown, MA, and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Upon completing her graduate studies, Dr. Ferguson was commissioned as a Captain in the U.S. Army, and completed an internship in Clinical Psychology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Upon completing her internship, she served as Division Psychologist and Assistant Chief of Mental Health, for 2nd Armored Division at Ft. Hood, Texas. Upon leaving active duty, she completed a post-doctoral residency program in Clinical Psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Within DMH she has served as a hospital Chief Psychologist, Director of Juvenile Forensics and Associate Deputy Director for Forensics for the Division.

Dr. Ferguson has over 25 years of experience as a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist in both private practice and public sector institutions.




Virginia’s public behavioral health and developmental disabilities services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DBHDS seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with mental illness, developmental disabilities or substance-use disorders.


1220 Bank Street P.O. Box 1797 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797

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