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Chief Consultant, Mental Health Services
HQ Phone:  (800) 827-1000
Direct Phone: (650) ***-**** ext. *****
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810 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, D.C., District of Columbia,20420
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established on March 15, 1989, succeeding the Veterans Administration. It is responsible for providing federal benefits to veterans and their families. Headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, VA is the second la... more.
Deputy Chief Officer of Mental Health Services
American Psychological Association
The Awards and Recognition
Recognition Committee Chair
Arizona State University
University of Oregon
Antonette M. Zeiss, PhDDeputy chief consultant, Office of Mental Health Services, Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office Growing up in Santa Cruz, Calif., Antonette M. Zeiss, PhD, spent many days playing by the Pacific Ocean with her two brothers. Zeiss later came to see that advice as a metaphor for handling any challenge.As a leader at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), she's faced plenty of waves, first as a trainer of psychology interns and postdocs at the Palo Alto VA, from 1982 to 2005, then, as deputy chief consultant for mental health services in the VA Central Office in Washington, D.C. In that latter role, she is often a press spokesperson for VA mental health nationally and she has numerous responsibilities for implementing the VA's Mental Health Strategic Plan, a program for upgrading VA mental health services, recommended by President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. "I go home almost every day feeling like the waves are coming fast!"Zeiss says."You have these big things coming at you, but if you face them, join with them, respond to them, most things are manageable."For instance, Zeiss must regularly answer questions from the press about VA-related mental health issues that can be controversial; and as a postdoc and intern trainer, she had to resolve a few uncomfortable situations, for example regarding students' alleged unethical behavior with clients. Her mother proffered two other nuggets of wisdom that Zeiss,also a seminal researcher in older-adult development,has kept in mind.One was explicit: Be responsible for your own actions and conflicts.When Zeiss and her brothers argued, for example, her mother would tell them to work it out themselves and report back the results."That advice has been enormously helpful because being able to work out conflicts is a huge part of leadership," Zeiss says.Her mother never verbalized the third piece of advice, but Zeiss learned through observation: Be nice.Some female postdocs she's shared this tip with have feared that "niceness" might connote "weakness."However, Zeiss disagrees."I think you can be caring and warm and remain a colleague and leader." The strategy has advanced Zeiss's career, she believes, by helping her build good relationships with colleagues and students.Then, they can work together to effectively accomplish tasks.Her colleagues concur.In May, Zeiss received an APA Presidential Citation recognizing her leadership contributions both in APA and VA.And last year, Zeiss won an APA Committee on Aging (CONA) Award for her contributions in geropsychology,including her finding that depression is not a normative part of aging.
Antonette Zeiss, Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office Dr. Antonette Zeiss became the Chief Consultant for Mental Health at the Central Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2011. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Oregon in 1977; she has worked in VA since 1982 after working as a faculty member at Arizona State University and Stanford University. Her previous VA positions were at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, until coming to VACO in September 2005 as the Deputy Chief Consultant for the Office of Mental Health Services. Among her major responsibilities are developing policies to guide model mental health delivery in VA and to support effective implementation of the VA Uniform Mental Health Services in VA Medical Centers and Clinics Handbook, thus enhancing and transforming VA mental health services. She has published extensively, particularly on mental health policy and training, on interdisciplinary teams and health care service delivery, and on depression treatment and risk factors. She has held leadership roles in several professional organizations and has received numerous awards throughout her career. She served as President of AABT (now ABCT) in 1996-97. Most recently, she received a United States Presidential Rank Award, Meritorious, for her service as a government senior executive and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.
Committee on Veterans' Affairs: Committee concluded a hearing to examine Veterans' Affairs mental health care, focusing on addressing wait times and access to care, after receiving testimony from Mary Schohn, Director, Mental Health Operations, Antonette Zeiss, Chief Consultant, Office of Mental Health Services, Janet Kemp, National Director, Suicide Prevention Program, and Michelle Washington, Coordinator, PTSD Services and Evidence Based Psychotherapy, VA Medical Center, Wilmington, Delaware, all of the Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs; Barbara Van Dahlen, Give an Hour, and Colonel Charles W. Hoge, USA (Ret.), both of Bethesda, Maryland; and John Roberts, Wounded Warrior Project, Washington, D.C.
Department of Veterans Affairs - William Van Stone reported that two well known aging and mental health advocates have just been hired at VA Central Office: Ira Katz, MD as Deputy Chief Patient Care Services Officer for Mental Health, and Antonette Zeiss, PhD as Deputy Chief Consultant in the Office of Mental Health Services.
Antonette Zeiss, Ph.D.
VA Central Office 211 Rigg St Santa Cruz, CA 33071-5015 Phone: (831) 316-7960