Dave Wanser, Ph.D. is a Visiting Fellow at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Executive Director of the National Data Infrastructure Improvement Consortium. Until March 2007 he served as the Deputy Commissioner for Behavioral and Community Health at the Texas Department of State Health Services, the consolidated department for mental health, substance abuse and public health, during the first three years after its creation in 2004. Dr. Wanser’s responsibilities included administration of contracted services for a wide range of mental health, substance abuse, primary and preventive care and nutrition services. During this time he chaired the Governor’s Mental Health Transformation Workgroup.
He was appointed as Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) in 2001 and served in that role for three years. As TCADA Executive Director he chaired the statewide Drug Demand Reduction Advisory Committee comprised of 16 state agencies. Preceding this and during his fifteen year tenure at the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TDMHMR), Dr. Wanser served as the Director of Behavioral Health Services and Director of the NorthSTAR Managed Behavioral Health Program and in other management positions. NorthSTAR was named a semi-finalist in the 2001 and 2002 Innovations in American Government competition sponsored by Harvard University.
He is past president of the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Substance Abuse Directors and past president of the Board of Directors of the National Data Infrastructure Improvement Consortium. He also served on advisory boards for the National Conference of State Legislators, the National Institute of Drug Abuse Texas Clinical Trials Network, the Health Information Management Systems Society, the American Health Information Community and the Council on Quality and Accountability of the NASMHPD Research Institute, and several other federally sponsored advisory groups. In addition, Dr. Wanser has been a consultant to the Center for Mental Health Services Mental Health Performance Partnership Grant Program since 1994 and has done extensive consulting in health, mental health and substance use service systems. He also served as the chairperson of the Adult Services Division of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
He has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Oklahoma, where he was recognized as a distinguished alumnus in 2005.