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For Immediate Release

February 2, 2021

Linda Grayson, Chairperson of the City of Saint Louis Mental Health Board, announced today that Jama Dodson, Executive Director of the MHB since 2010 would be retiring effective June 30, 2021.

“Jama has been a great public servant, a visionary in the social service arena in our City, and an outstanding leader for the MHB over the last decade.  While we certainly understand her desire to retire at this time – the Board will certainly miss her.  We wish her well in her much-deserved retirement. “

Ms. Dodson was only the second Executive Director of the MHB, succeeding Don Cuvo who retired in 2010.

Ms. Dodson stated that, “After completing 9 years with MHB—Some of the best years of my career–I am grateful for the opportunity to improve the health and wellness of our City’s vulnerable children and adults.  I thank the Trustees and Staff of MHB for their sincere commitment to our mission and for their diligent efforts over the years.”

During Ms. Dodson’s tenure as Executive Director, the MHB:

  • Established its first automated grant management system to improve tracking of programs’ impacts in the community
  • Approved the increase of the Community Children’s Services Fund through a property tax ballot initiative expected to bring $2M per year focused on early childhood programs
  • Assisted the City of St. Louis to distribute $2.1M of CARES Act funding in 2020 to support the early childhood service sector
  • Initiated community resident reviewers to participate in the grant selection process in partnership with the MHB Trustees
  • Supported and strengthened coordinated systems of behavioral and social services for children and adults through advancing trauma informed services, violence prevention, criminal justice diversion, perinatal services to vulnerable mothers and babies, immigrant and homeless mental health, and cradle to career service coordination through Ready by 21.

The City MHB is a public corporation of the State of Missouri which came into existence upon the City voters approving a tax for Community Mental Health Services in 1992 and Community Children’s Services in 2004.

Every year it distributes approximately $11.7 million dollars to various not for profit and public agencies within the City of St. Louis

The Board will immediately undertake a search for her successor.


About Saint Louis MHB (MHB):  MHB is a special taxing district in the City of St. Louis authorized by Missouri state statutes and City voter approvals to administer public funds for behavioral health and children’s services that benefit City residents. MHB does not provide direct services itself but makes funding available for direct services operated by not-for-profit organizations.