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DBHDS Press Releases

For Immediate Release:  January 13, 2009
[ link to pdf ]

Karnes, Jarvis Elected to Lead State MHMRSAS Board

Richmond – Members of the State Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services (MHMRSAS) Board voted today to elect Daniel Karnes of Roanoke as Chairman and Ruth Jarvis of Norfolk as Vice-Chairman of the board.

First appointed to the State MHMRSAS Board on July 1, 2004, Daniel Karnes is a retired Army Lt. Colonel and a licensed clinical social worker. He recently retired from directing the Roanoke Vet Center where he assisted military veterans with a variety of services ranging from getting benefits to coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. Since his first position at the VA Hospital in 1979, Karnes has served on the board at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare and at the Virginia Veterans Care Center, including a term as chairman.

Karnes is a mediation volunteer, and a site visitor for the Council on Social Work Education. He is also a commissioner of the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Ruth Jarvis retired from Norfolk State University after 34 years of service where her positions included the Dean of Student Development. Jarvis’ interest in mental health and mental retardation issues began when she started seeking information about services for her autistic son. She volunteered for the Norfolk Community Services Board, first as a member of the Health Services Committee, later as a board member, including two years as chair. She was recently named Community Services Worker of the Year. Jarvis was first appointed to the State MHMRSAS Board on July 1, 2004.

Previous Board Chairman, Victoria Huber Cochran of Blacksburg, stepped down to become the state coordinator of Criminal Justice and Mental Health Initiatives for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The State Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services Board is a policy-making body comprised of nine citizens from across the Commonwealth. The Board has the statutory authority for the establishment of policy for the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services, for the state-run mental health hospitals and mental retardation training centers, and for Virginia’s 40 community services boards. Members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly. For more information on the State MHMRSAS Board, please visit:


Available to citizens statewide, Virginia’s public Behavioral Health and Developmental services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DMHMRSAS 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 health, mental retardation or substance abuse disorders.

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