Meet the Team

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

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

___________________________________________


Special Projects Officer
Marty Giffin

BOARD MEMBERS

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

FRIENDS OF THE BOARD

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
Monica Nepomuceno

Rick Saletta
Mike Schertell
Lynn Thull
Judy Webber

dave neilsen

President

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

Treasurer

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.

Elizabeth Engelken

Secretary

Elizabeth Engelken is an Assistant Superintendent for the Yolo County Office of Education, and Executive Member of the State SELPA Administrators Association of California. Prior to serving as a SELPA Administrator, she held numerous positions in special education and educational leadership. Elizabeth is passionate about serving students, empowering families, and providing access and excellence in supporting educators working directly with children and young adults. She has been involved with CMHACY for the past ten years, presenting as well as promoting her own teams’ professional growth. Elizabeth was one of the first special education directors to create a best practice model for the delivery of mental health services for students with disabilities, following the passage of AB 114. Her early professional experience is as a school psychologist, and she brings this foundation to her advocacy for students with disabilities and access to mental health and wellness. She is trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and facilitation. In addition to CMHACY, Elizabeth is a member of Pepperdine’s Straus Institute and the California Foster Youth Education Task Force. She is a certified Yoga Teacher (YTA) and enjoys baking, travelling and time with her family. She is the proud parent of an adult son, Alex, and aunt to her nephew, Gehrig.

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

Special Projects Officer

With an M.S. in Education, Marty Giffin, Ph.D., taught school from 1972 through 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 served as 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 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 Special Projects Officer for CMHACY. 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, echambers@youthsolutions.org  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.

Veronica Coates

Board Member

Veronica Coates is an Assistant Superintendent for a rural Northern California Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and feels inspired and humbled to serve in a leadership position for students with disabilities. Prior to being a SELPA Administrator she held other leadership positions in special education. She was one of the first ERMHS coordinators after the passage of AB 114 and assisted in building a model school-based mental health program.   Her origin in education is as a school psychologist and is proud to always go back to this foundation.  Veronica is passionate about serving students with risk factors and ensuring that the educational systems and processes are safe and positive for youth and families. Veronica’s passion and heart is to be a strong equity leader and she continues to work on learning and listening.  Veronica is the proud parent to Holden and Destiny and partner to Jesse.  When she is not working she is often on the pool deck watching her son competitively swim!

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.

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.