Secretary of Drug & Alcohol Programs

Dr. Latika Davis-Jones

“I am excited to continue working in close collaboration with substance use disorder treatment and prevention providers, Single County Authorities, communities, people with lived experience, and advocates to move the Governor’s vision for our Commonwealth forward.” 

Dr. Latika Davis-Jones

Dr. Latika D. Davis-Jones is the Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Over the past 25 years, Latika’s work has focused on the physical and behavioral health needs of vulnerable populations. In her current role, she is responsible for the administration of control, prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery supports, rehabilitation, research, education, and training activities within the department as well as across state agencies. Her department serves a critical role in coordinating efforts at the federal, state, and local levels. In addition to programmatic efforts geared toward substance use, DDAP also implements a program to address compulsive and problem gambling.

Prior to working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, she provided leadership and administrative oversight of Highmark Wholecare’s behavioral health program and oversaw program development including the development of operations within new markets/business initiatives and the implementation and evaluation of utilization management, case management, and disease/condition management programs impacting the health of its members. 

Latika also worked at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services where she was responsible for the organization, implementation, coordination and evaluation of drug and alcohol services (i.e., prevention, intervention, and treatment) for residents in Allegheny County. Latika’s work experience and education has afforded her the opportunity to excel in: program planning and development, program evaluation, operations, public policy, and data analysis/research design. 

Latika’s university work included teaching a course that focused on social work practice and issues of diversity, risk, oppression, resilience, and empowerment. It explored these issues within the context of developing students’ knowledge of and skills in using social work problem-solving methods with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. Additionally, Latika was a key contributor to the content and the analysis of measures for Drs. Larry Davis and Rafael Engel book entitled, “Measuring Race and Ethnicity: Inside and Out.” Measuring Race and Ethnicity gathered psychological measures of common phenomena such as racial identity, acculturation, and intra and intergroup relations enabling researchers to compare concepts across groups and better evaluate differences and disparities. Her work also included being the co-principal investigator on the Strengthening Pittsburgh’s African American Nonprofits (SPAAN) Project at the University of Pittsburgh-School of Social Work. The purpose of the study was to learn more about the region’s African American nonprofits, and to better understand their strengths, needs and challenges. Additionally, she worked on several research projects focused on substance use, co-occurring disorders, and HIV risk behavior.  Most recently, Latika served on the Center for Interventions to Enhance Community Health (CiTECH) Advisory Board which is a unique partnership between the University of Pittsburgh- School of Social Work and the Department of Psychiatry dedicated to community behavioral health services. CiTECH aims to bridge the science-to-service gap by integrating research and practice in the community. 

Latika has provided public testimony before the Pennsylvania House and Senate Policy Committees on the opioid epidemic and has presented at national and local conference on these issues. In collaboration with colleagues, she has helped to publish reports and journal articles on addressing the opioid epidemic in Allegheny County. 

Latika’s recent awards include being selected as a Professional Women’s Network Ladies Who Lead Honoree (2019), Women of Excellence Awardee (2018) by the New Pittsburgh Courier, Tree of Life Awardee (2016) by Message Carriers, and the Bernadette Turner Leadership Award recipient (2016) by the African American Leadership Association. Other recognition includes the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40 and Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40 awards. Past national/community involvement includes: 

  • Global Links (Current Board Member)
  • The Children’s Institute (Current Board Member)
  • The Advance Leadership Initiative (Current Advisory Board Member)
  • 100 Women Who Care Pittsburgh
  • US Attorney Hickton’s Working Group on Drug Overdose and Addiction (2016-2018)
  • Point Park University –Doctoral Student Mentor (2015-2018)
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded Prevention Economic Impact Model (Stakeholder Advisory Committee)
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) Special Emphasis Panel NCHHSTP) (2015)

Latika earned her undergraduate degree from Central State University and her graduate degrees (MSW, MPH, and PhD) from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to being a public health leader she is a wife, a mother of two, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.