Meet the Team


President dave neilsen
Immediate Past President Nancy Shea
Treasurer Steve Elson
Secretary Elizabeth Engelken
Executive Committee Member Tanya McCullom
Executive Director Marty Giffin


Veronica Coates
Ebony Chambers
Jeffrey Jamerson
Rene Lozano
Monica Nepomuceno
Gina Perez
Marni R. Sandoval
Chezia Tarleton
Richard Weisgal


Tonya Bauhofer
Lisa Bertaccini
Maureen Burness
Mary Bush
Christine Jackson Cole
Marika Collins
Elizabeth A. Estes
Alexxa Goodenough
Pam Hawkins
Laura Heintz
Steve Hornberger
Shelley Lopez
Debbie Manners
Chris Stoner-Mertz
Danielle Mole
Rick Saletta
Mike Schertell
Lynn Thull
Judy Webber

dave neilsen


dave neilsen joined Team CMHACY in 1985 as a graduate student in Social Work. His career allowed him to settle into the California Departments of Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Programs and Health Care Services. Prior to grad school, dave worked in a variety of community based services including group homes, juvenile justice settings and rural substance use disorder inpatient and outpatient services. dave has been fortunate to see many initiatives come on to the California’s behavioral health landscapes, and looks forward to serving on the CMHACY Board in the years ahead.

Steve Elson


Dr. Steven Elson has been the chief executive officer of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families since 1994. Prior to coming to Casa Pacifica, Dr. Elson served as executive director of The Sycamores in Pasadena, California. Under his leadership, Casa Pacifica has grown dramatically and now serves more than 4,500 children and their families each year through 17 programs in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Steve has encouraged innovation and excellence in all programs and Casa Pacifica has received state and national recognition. Steve received his doctorate in counseling psychology from Michigan State University. He has been active in public policy efforts benefiting children in foster care and other public service systems. He has served on the CMHACY Board for over two decades including President of the Board and is the current treasurer. Steve has also served as President of the following national and state organizations: California Coalition for Mental Health, California Council of Community Behavioral Heath Agencies, California Alliance of Child & Family Services, and the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers.

Tanya McCullom

Executive Committee Member

Tanya McCullom is a Program Specialist for the Office of Family Empowerment at Alameda County Behavioral Health Care.  She has been working in children’s public behavioral health for over 15 years as a family member.  She has worked across the children’s system of care from early childhood to transition-aged youth.  Prior to joining the Office of Family Empowerment, Tanya worked for a non-profit, family-run organization as a Family Partner and later the Program Director of the Family Partnership Program in Alameda County.  Tanya, along with the Office of Family Empowerment, provide technical assistance to parent/caregivers, providers and other community members on working together in the best interest of children and youth.  As one of the newest members of the CMHACY Board, she is looking forward to continuing to speak up on behalf of parents, caregivers, children and youth across the state.

Marty Giffin

Executive Director

With a M.S. in Education, Marty Giffin, Ph.D., taught school from 1972 thought 1977. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1982 and holds an active license in the State of California as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Giffin has worked in the mental health field for over thirty-five years. Over these years, he has served in the role of clinician, supervisor, administrator, and executive administrator. Marty is the board president for both the California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth (CMHACY), and for the Family and Youth Round Table (FYRT). For five years Marty worked for the Federal Government (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – SAMHSA) as the Principal Investigator over a large five year grant that advanced the Children’s System of Care in Five Different California counties. Since the mid-eighties, Marty has been a leader at the county, state, and federal levels in the development of the Children’s System of Care. Currently, Marty serves as the Senior Vice President of Southern California Operations for Anka Behavioral Health. Marty is also the parent of a special needs young adult.

Ebony Chambers

Board Member

Ebony Chambers, Chief Family and Youth Partnership Officer, Stanford Sierra Youth and Families, CA,  Ebony Chambers has been with Stanford Sierra Youth and Families for over 15 years, providing youth and family support and leadership within Wraparound programs and other community based services. As a mother who has worked through and navigated multiple systems with her child, she brings that perspective to her role to provide oversight, advocacy and support to families in the greater Sacramento area and surrounding counties. Prior to her role with Stanford, she served a Children’s Residential Administrator. Ebony is also is an instructor for UC Davis Center for Family Focused Practice. Chambers also worked with the National Council of Behavioral Health, on addressing Health Disparities within her local community, with a focus on eliminating barriers and increasing access for the LGBT community. Chambers is the recipient of the 2017 Sacramento Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award for her outstanding professional accomplishments and community involvement. She is actively involved in the community, serving as the Co-Chair of the UC Davis Parent Partner Advisory Committee, a member the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Steering Committee and other community initiatives, ensuring family and youth voice is integrated at every system level.

Jeffrey Jamerson

Board Member

Jeffrey L. Jamerson, Ph.D. Is the Vice President of Programs and Services at Aviva Family & Children’s Services in Los Angeles. He has more than 25 years of experience, serving Children and Families in various capacities and currently oversees Aviva’s direct service areas, which include Supportive Housing for Women and Children, Foster and Adoption, Mental Health Services, and Crisis Intervention.

Rene Lozano

Board Member

Rene Lozano is a parent of a child with special needs and has received several different mental health services for her family. Rene’s family successfully completed and graduated from Wraparound services with the collaboration of probation juvenile judicial services.  Rene has worked for both System of Care and Wraparound as a Parent Partner & Child Family Specialist. She has also served as liaison for the Permanency program working with group homes, foster care, adoptive services, transitional youth services and IFCCS. Rene’s expertise in working with a diverse community led to a recruitment by the LGBTQ Los Angeles Agency as a Family Partner for their pilot program, R.I.S.E (Recognize Intervene Support & Empower).

Rene currently works for the Department Of Mental Health Wraparound Administration Child Welfare Division, where she co-creates and facilitates the mandated Wraparound trainings. Rene facilitates the Parent Partner Academy for Los Angeles County.

Debra Manners

Board Member

Hathaway-Sycamores President & CEO Debra Manners has dedicated her career to improving the lives of children and families in our community. A licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Manners received a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Washington. Her first professional job, working in a children’s shelter, shaped her commitment to understanding and treating both the immediate and lifelong effects of childhood trauma. She joined Hathaway-Sycamores in 1987 and has served as President & CEO since 2015. Dedicated to innovative solutions, she has been key to the development of new programs at Hathaway-Sycamores that have become the industry standard.  She serves on statewide and national boards focusing on behavioral health and child well-being public policy. Through her collaboration with other public, private, and governmental agencies her impact extends far beyond those served by Hathaway-Sycamores.

Monica Nepomuceno

Board Member

Monica Nepomuceno is an Education Programs Consultant at the California Department of Education (CDE). In this capacity, Monica oversees the Mental Health Services Program, co-chairs the Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup (SMHPW), is the Project Cal-Well Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) Coordinator and a YMHFA Instructor, and represents the voice of K-12 students on several committees, including the California Behavioral Health Planning Council (CBHPC) and the California Advocates for Children and Youth (CMHACY).

Monica is passionate about creating a better public understanding of the mental health needs of California K-12 students. This includes helping all school staff, parents, and community members increase their knowledge and awareness of student mental health. She is highly committed to helping schools and districts build capacity to support student-centered mental health programs, which include the identification of students in need, improving school climate, providing direct services, staff training, student training, opportunities for youth engagement and a role for peer support.

She understands firsthand the effects that an undiagnosed and untreated mental health issue can have on a person’s life. Her lived experience has helped her advocate for students’ diverse needs and the ability for youth-serving adults to intervene timely, respectful, and culturally appropriate manner. Monica stresses the importance of recognizing symptoms early on and before they interfere with daily functioning or become debilitating.

Monica is most proud of her ability to build relationships with local, state, and national partners to increase awareness of and supports for student mental health.  Her role at the CDE helps foster connections and leverage resources to engage non-traditional partners with schools and students.

Gina Perez

Board Member

Dr. Gina Perez serves as Chief Administrative and Compliance Officer at Hathaway Sycamores and joined the agency in 2016.  She is responsible for the oversight of the agencies Clinical Practice, Quality Management, Compliance, Health Information Management, Research, and Training Departments as well as Strategic Planning to include development and implementation of New Initiatives for the agency.  Dr. Perez brings over 22 years of professional experience to CMHACY in designing and implementing services throughout Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, and Orange Counties.  Dr. Perez holds a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and has worked with all populations through her clinical tenure.  She received training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center developing specialty with the Birth to Five population.  Dr. Perez has served as Co-Chair of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (Service Area 3),  County-Wide Delegate for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, and served as Board Member of the Irwindale Library Foundation as well as Boy Scouts of America, Troop 31 San Gabriel Valley District.

Marni R. Sandoval

Board Member

Marni R. Sandoval, Psy. D. is a licensed psychologist and the Deputy Director of Child & Adolescent Services for Monterey County Behavioral Health. Over the past 19 years she has developed, implemented, and managed programs within the Monterey County Behavioral Health system of care. In her current capacity, Dr. Sandoval provides oversight and management for the vast array of child & adolescent mental health programs provided through Monterey County Behavioral Health.  She is committed to integrating a trauma-informed approach to community mental health services for children, youth, and families.

Dr. Sandoval has served as the Training Director since 2007 for the Doctoral Psychology Training Program in Monterey County Behavioral Health. As training director she provides administrative, fiscal, and clinical oversight to the agency training program, staff, and students. The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and is an active member in the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).

Chezia Tarleton

Board Member

Chezia(Chez) Tarleton is the only Youth Board member. She graduated from the University of Colorado Denver in 2020 with a B.A in Sociology and is pursuing both a LMFT and LPCC. She is a Peer advocate within the Sacramento area, public speaker for mental health and youth representation, and volunteers for the Sacramento LGBTQ Center. She has dove into the field of mental health to empower and encourage other POC while fighting against stigma. She looks forward to the continued spread of mental health education and awareness.

Rich Weisgal

Board Member

Rich Weisgal, MA, LMFT, has over 40 years of experience in the mental health field as an administrator, manager, supervisor, clinician and consultant. He has worked for County behavioral health departments and private nonprofit agencies.  As a consultant with the Child and Family Policy Institute of California, he has facilitated State work groups on psychotropic medication and adoption competency. He has provided technical assistance nationally to jurisdictions implementing the Children’s Mental Health Initiative (SAMHSA) and consulted at the county level regarding Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). He is the father of three young-adult children and grandfather of five.