Joel Axler, M.D. 


National Behavior Health Leader 
Strategic Benefit Advisors (SBA)/Brown & Brown.  

Dr. Axler is a board-certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist.  He has a wealth of experience addressing mental health and substance abuse issues that face employer groups and has a passion for helping employers develop innovative solutions to improve behavioral health access and quality of care.  Dr. Axler has experience building effective integrated physical-mental health care solutions and developing and deploying innovative strategies to enhance member engagement and motivation to improve adherence with treatment, leading to better quality of life for employees and their families.

With more than 30 years of experience in health care, Dr. Axler has held leadership positions directing the psychiatric care of children, adolescents and adults in academic, private practice and insurance settings.   Prior to joining SBA, Dr. Axler served as the Behavioral Health Managing Medical Director for Anthem Inc. for the Government Business sectors, including Medicaid and Medicare.   At Anthem he was responsible for the administration of mental health and substance use disorder services for the health plans, overseeing the impact on health care quality, cost, and outcomes including managing the psychiatric health needs of members in the Georgia Medicaid program and the Georgia Foster Care program. Prior he served as chief medical director at Peachford Behavioral Hospital in Atlanta, one of the largest residential psychiatric facilities in the Southeast. Previously he was a Regional Medical Director for the commercial business for United Behavioral Health (UBH) for 15 years. 

Dr. Axler is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and serves on the executive committee of several national organizations, including the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association and the Georgia Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  He has been involved with several studies and presentations on psychiatric care affecting adolescents and young adults, and serves as an adjunct faulty member at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. 

Dr. Axler received his undergraduate degree from New York University (NYU), medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, completed his pediatrics internship at Hartford Hospital and his adult psychiatric residency training at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn. He completed a postdoctoral residency fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institution in NYC where he served as the Chief Fellow.

His passion for volunteer work has led to service on several non-profit boards and participation in psychiatric medical missions to Israel, Belarus and the Ukraine. Dr Axler is an avid runner and tennis player as well as being a husband and father to three daughters.