California Health and Human Services

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Behavioral Health Task Force


The California Health & Human Services Agency has convened the Behavioral Health Task Force (BHTF) to inform its work on behavioral health issues across the state. The diverse BHTF membership is positioned well to elucidate connections among wide ranging perspectives and interests related to behavioral health needs and care, ground truth the framing of behavioral health issues in the State, and advance innovative and coordinated work to drive progress.

 Behavioral Health Task Force Charter

The Key Goals of the BHTF are:

Goal 1.  Ground truth the State’s behavioral health agenda

Goal 2. Uplift constituency voices

Goal 3. Promote learning to expand collective understanding of behavioral health issues facing the State

Goal 4. Advance approaches that are creative, responsive, and coordinated

For questions, inquiries, or to join the task force listserv, contact

For more information regarding the proposed Behavioral Health Services Act, visit our Behavioral Health Reform website.


  • Mark Ghaly, MD, MPH. Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency
  • Diana Ramos,California Office of the Surgeon General
  • Joe Xavier,Department of Rehabilitation
  • Kim Johnson,Department of Social Services
  • Mary Watanabe,Department of Managed Health Care
  • Michelle Baass,Department of Health Care Services
  • Nancy Bargmann,Department of Developmental Services
  • Stephanie Clendenin,Department of State Hospitals
  • Melissa Stafford Jones,CYBHI California Health and Human Services Agency
  • Juan Arguello,Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR), Chief, Health Policy Division
  • Thomas Aragon,CA Dept Public Health, Director & State Public Health Officer
  • Elizabeth Landsberg,Director, HCAI
  • Hernando Garzon,Chief Medical Officer, EMSA
  • Susan DeMarois,Director, California Department of Aging
  • Marjorie Swartz,California State Senate, Principal Consultant
  • Judy Babcock,California State Assembly
  • Mareva Brown,California State Senate
  • Toby Ewing, Executive Director of MHSOAC
  • Jackie Wong, First Five CA Executive Director
  • Brenda Grealish, Council on Criminal and Justice Behavioral Health
  • Rebecca Ruan-O'Shaughnessy, California Community Colleges
  • Genie Kim, University of California Director of Mental Health and Well Being
  • Tony Thurmond, California Department of Education
  • Virginia Wimmer, Deputy Secretary, Women Veterans Affairs, CalVet
  • Meghan Marshall, Executive Officer of the California Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • Evangelina Ramirez,Promotoras con Alma
  • Lishaun Francis,Children Now
  • Steve Diley,The Veterans Art Project
  • Avery Hulog-Vicente,California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations
  • Karen Larsen,Steinberg Institute
  • Anita Fisher,Fisher MH Consulting, NAMI CA Board Member
  • Cynthia Jackson,Heritage Clinic
  • Grant Boyken,Shatterproof
  • Miguel Serricchio,Didi Hirsch
  • Leticia Galyean,Seneca Family of Agencies
  • Zofia Trexler,Disability Rights California
  • Michael Lombardo,CA HHS Education Advisor
  • Lisa Fortuna,Department of Psychiatry and Neurociences, University of California, Riverside
  • Justin Peglowsk, Indian Health Services
  • Vitka Eisen,HealthRIGHT 360
  • Gary Tsai,Substance Abuse Prevention and Control Los Angeles County, Dept. of Public Health
  • Carmen Katsarov,CalOptima Health
  • Paul Rains,CommonSpirit Health System
  • Stephanie Moon,Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Housing for Health                                                    
  • Kim Lewis,Managing Attorney, CA Office, National Health Law Program
  • Laura Arnold,Deputy Public Defender County of Santa Barbara
  • Allison Rodriguez,CommuniCare Health Centers
  • Shaina Zurlin,Central California Alliance for Health
  • Dannie Ceseña,California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network
  • Ruby Fiero,Chief Probation Officer Trinity County
  • Le Ondra Clark Harvey, CA Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies
  • Sonya Aadam,California Black Women's Health Project
  • Elizabeth Oseguera,California Primary Care Association
  • Michelle Doty Cabrera, County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California
  • Charles Bacchi,California Association of Health Plans
  • Kirsten Barlow,California Hospital Association
  • Carolina Valle,California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
  • Albert M. Senella,Tarzana Treatment Centers
  • Christine Stoner-Mertz,CA Alliance of Child and Family Services
  • Theresa Comstock,CA Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards/Commissions
  • Alfredo Aguirre,Latino Behavioral Health Coalition
  • Will Arroyo,DHCS - MCHAP Member; CDCR - CROB
  • Dawan Utecht,Telecare Corporation
  • Phebe Bell,Nevada County Behavioral Health
  • Marcy Adelman, California Commission on Aging, Commissioner
  • Robb Layne, California Association of Alcohol and Drug Programs
  • Christine Olmstead, Orange County Department of Education

2023 Meeting Dates

October 11 2023, 10-1pm

Virtual Quarterly Behavioral Task Force Meeting

December 13 2023, 12-1:30pm

Lunch and Learn, more info to come.

January 17 2024, 10-3pm

Hybrid Quarterly Behavioral Task Force Meeting

Meeting Materials


June 29, 2023

June 13, 2023, 10AM – 1PM

April 21, 2023, 11:30 pM – 1PM

December 13 2022

December 2, 2022

September 13, 2022

August 31, 2022

June 14, 2022

May 24, 2022

May 17, 2022

March 8, 2022

December 7, 2021

October 5, 2021

To view a recording of the meeting, visit Zoom and manually enter the following passcode: t19VehZ% 

June 8, 2021

Information Regarding the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative

Additional Meeting Materials

March 9, 2021

January 28, 2021

An audio replay of the meeting is available:

  • Number: 866-207-1041
  • Access code: 5789033

August 25, 2020

March 4, 2020