Source: County of Santa Barbara
The County of Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors has approved the appointment of Antonette “Toni” Navarro, LMFT, as Director of the Behavioral Wellness Department. Navarro will assume the duties from Dr. Pamela Fisher, who was named Interim Director following the departure of Dr. Alice Gleghorn in June 2021. Fisher will return to her previous role as the Assistant Director of Behavioral Wellness and looks forward to her retirement from the County this winter. Navarro’s first day is expected to be December 13, 2021.
Navarro has managed mental health programs since 2003, most recently at Tri-City Mental Health in Los Angeles County since 2008. For the past seven years she has served as Tri-City Mental Health Authority’s Executive Director following six years as its Chief Clinical Officer. As Executive Director, she has been responsible for the planning, organizing, and directing of operations of the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to provide outpatient specialty mental health services to the cities of Claremont, La Verne and Pomona, Calif. Her prior experience also includes a focus on youth and family mental health and substance use disorder programming with Hathaway-Sycamores Children and Family Services in Pacoima.
Navarro is deeply committed to behavioral health, public service and collaboration. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with 30 years in clinical outpatient services. She also has extensive experience working at the state level as a Governing Board Member of the California Behavioral Health Directors’ Association.
For the past eight years, Navarro has been an Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of La Verne. She currently serves as President of the California Social Work Education Center’s Advisory Board (CalSWEC) hosted by the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. CalSWEC is dedicated to developing a professional social service workforce to effectively serve California’s diverse population with focus on public child welfare, integrated behavioral health, and aging.
“Ms. Navarro is an inspiring and experienced leader with a track record of creating innovative programs and developing a dynamic and visionary behavioral system of care,” said Mona Miyasato, County Executive Officer. “She has a community-focused approach, with expertise in both clinical programs and administrative oversight, and exhibits a heart-felt passion for this work.”
“I am honored to be joining the Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness team, and connecting with County staff, residents, Behavioral Wellness stakeholders, and behavioral health providers throughout the county to hear their perspectives on wellness and recovery; and then working collectively to ensure that the Department maintains a system of care that supports those needs in an equitable, effective and fiscally responsible way,” said Navarro.
The Behavioral Wellness Department performs a broad range of behavioral health related services, including operating the County’s Psychiatric Health Facility, conducting substance use and mental health education and prevention campaigns, oversight of the Mental Health Services Act funding and contracted services with community-based organizations, and operating behavioral health clinics targeted towards Medi-Cal beneficiaries and the underserved. The department has 403 employees and a budget of $164 million.
Miyasato added, “I would like to recognize Pamela Fisher for her work and leadership of the Behavioral Wellness Department over the past six months. She has worked to maintain critical community relations and provision of all services for which I am very appreciative of her efforts.”
Navarro received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles; and a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Counseling from University of California, Santa Barbara. Navarro grew up in Santa Barbara and attended Santa Barbara High School.
For information about the County’s Behavioral Wellness Department, go to www.countyofsb.org/behavioral-wellness.