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Lynda Gargan, Ph.D.

Executive Director
National Federation of Families

Dr. Lynda Gargan serves as the Executive Director for the National Federation of Families. In this position, she leads the country’s largest national advocacy organization focused solely on supporting the families of children and young adults who experience mental health and/or substance challenges. Throughout her career, Dr. Gargan has worked across the nation providing technical assistance and training to ensure that all individuals are afforded the opportunity to live in the community of their choice. During her tenure as Deputy Special Master, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Dr. Gargan oversaw the successful settlement of a class action lawsuit, returning 1000 children placed in the foster care system to their communities. Dr. Gargan served as the Project Manager and Project Director, respectively, for two Federal Supported Employment Technical Assistance Centers. She more recently served as CEO for an agency specializing in Intensive In-Home Family Therapy services for families navigating both the mental health and substance use systems. Dr. Gargan has a wealth of experience in community-based behavioral health at the local, state, and national levels. She has a rich background in field research, including longitudinal studies in multiple class action lawsuits.

Dr. Gargan serves as a tireless champion for the mission and vision of the Federation. Under her guidance, the National Federation has fully operationalized the Family Peer Specialist Certification, an innovative peer support workforce initiative that utilizes the lived experience and specialized training of parents to assist and empower families who are raising children and youth with mental health and/or substance use challenges. Believing that mental health and substance use challenges are often inextricable, Dr. Gargan spearheaded efforts to expand the focus of the organization to embrace these dual diagnoses. Under her leadership, the Federation has expanded their focus to include family support in both mental health and/or substance use challenges. Dr. Gargan’s most recent accomplishment is the award of SAMHSA’s first National Family Support Technical Assistance Center, of which she serves as the Principal Investigator. This five-year award focuses on families who are supporting children who experience mental health and/or substance use challenges, across their lifespan.

​ Utilizing both her personal and extensive professional experience to inform her work, Dr. Gargan seeks solutions to the challenges that families face as they attempt to navigate the complex systems that serve children, adults, and families. As a native of West Virginia, Dr. Gargan has personal experience and knowledge of the chaos that the opioid crisis has created in families and the challenges that Appalachian families face when attempting to locate services.