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Boston College School of Social Work
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Marylou Sudders

Marylou Sudders

Visiting Professor, Health & Mental Health

Professor Marylou Sudders was a full-time faculty member at BCSSW from 2012 until her appointment as Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2015. She remains a visiting professor at the school.

In her role as a member of Governor Charlie Baker’s cabinet, Sudders leads the largest executive agency in state government, a $19.4 billion state budget with 22-thousand dedicated public servants, and she oversees critical services that touch almost one in six residents of the Commonwealth.

Her distinguished public record includes the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Commissioner of Mental Health and New Hampshire's Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services. She has also been the Independent Reviewer for a U.S. Department of Justice Settlement Agreement to improve services for adults with serious mental illness and substance abuse conditions in North Carolina.

In 2012, Professor Sudders was appointed to the Commonwealth's Health Policy Commission as the behavioral health expert; this board is charged with curbing health care expenditures and improving quality. Believing in community service, she has served on many charitable boards throughout her career, including the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health and National Alliance for Mental Illness.

Prestigious honors include an Honorary Doctorate from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, Social Worker of the Year from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the Knee-Whitman Outstanding Achievement for Health & Mental Health Policy from the National Association of Social Workers Foundation. She attended the first White House Conference on Mental Health and has testified before Congress and often before the Massachusetts Legislature.

A strong advocate for social justice, Professor Sudders is credited with a significant role in passage of key Massachusetts legislative reforms, including: Fundamental Rights for Persons with Mental Illness, Civil Commitment Reform; Children's Mental Health Omnibus Act; Mental Health Parity; Hospital Interpreter Law; and, CHINs Reform. She was a founding member of the Children's Mental Health Campaign, while serving as President & CEO of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Read more on Sudders' appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services

Read about a reception honoring Sudders' role in Baker's cabinet hosted by the social work community at the Massachusetts State House