Department of Health Services Executive Team
Director Barbie Robinson, MPP, JD, CHC
Barbie Robinson was appointed by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to lead the Department of Health Services (DHS) as Director since February 2017. Prior to that, she served as the Interim Director since September 2016, and was previously the Assistant Director overseeing the planning, organization, and oversight of department-wide operations and services.
As the Department Director, Barbie supports community efforts to address health disparities. Through her leadership the Department focuses its efforts on community health improvement and health equity that mobilizes community partnerships and resources to focus on key factors that influence health, including health system effectiveness, the built environment, and social determinants such as education and income.
Barbie brings with her over 27 years of experience in the fields of health care administration, policy, and research. Before DHS, Barbie worked at the Federal level at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for 15 years overseeing the administration of Federal healthcare programs including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Medicare Fee-for-Service program.
In 2010, Barbie became the Associate Regional Administrator (ARA) of the San Francisco Division of Financial Management & Fee-for-Service Operations. She also became the ARA of the Atlanta Division in 2014, while also concurrently serving as the ARA for the San Francisco division. In 2014, she received the "Administrator’s Achievement Award."
Assistant Director Rod Stroud, JD
Rod has served as Assistant Director for the Department of Health Services since October 2016. As Assistant Director Rod supports the planning, organization, and oversight of Department-wide operations and services; administer health regulations and programs to attain financial stability; serve as a liaison with various state, federal, county, and community agencies; and serve as a lead member of the Department’s Executive Management Team.
Rod has been with the Department since 2005 having served as Administrative Services Officer II for the Administration Unit before becoming Assistant Director. He worked cross-departmentally on a variety of assignments including Board of Supervisors Agenda items; management and coordination of Inter-Governmental Transfers (IGT); legislative matters; the Sutter transition; and oversight of contracts and the competitive process. Rod has also served as the Interim Special Projects Director providing oversight and management for a number of major projects, including taking a lead role in the department’s support of the Sonoma Development Center Transformation Planning process.
Prior to joining the County, Rod worked over 13 years as Corporate Counsel for Health Plan of the Redwoods. As County Counsel, Rod advised the organization on legal matters across all operational areas including: administration, contracting, provider relations, marketing, enrollment, utilization review, claims processing, and grievances.
Health Officer Dr. Celeste Philip, MD, MPH
Dr. Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, began serving as the County’s Health Officer since April 2019. Celeste comes to the County after a successful career serving as the state of Florida’s Surgeon General and Secretary of Health for almost three years—managing a staff of over 13,000 with a $3 billion budget.
The County Health Officer is responsible for the protection and promotion of the public's health for all in Sonoma County. She will also oversee the work of the DHS Public Health Division located at 625 Fifth Street in downtown Santa Rosa as well as work with other departments, community partners and other counties to improve health on both a programmatic and a policy level.
A graduate of Howard University, Celeste earned a Master of Public Health in maternal and child health and a Doctor of Medicine from Loma Linda University in California.
Celeste also serves on the board of directors for the Public Health Accreditation Board and the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and was named the 2016 Outstanding Woman in Public Health by the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health.
Behavioral Health Director, Bill Carter, LCSW
Bill Carter, LCSW, has been serving as the Department’s Behavioral Health Division Director since November 2018. Bill has a wealth of experience in and is recognized as a statewide expert in the mental health field.
Bill leads day to day operations at the Behavioral Health Division and oversees the division’s programs and services, including the Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) and Mobile Support Team (MST). Bill’s expertise has been invaluable as the County redesigns its behavioral health system as well as addressing a number of fiscal and operational goals that are crucial to meet for the sustainability of the division.
Carter has more than 30 years of experience in mental health and social services programming as a provider and administrator for both private and public sectors. He was an administrator at the California Institute for Mental Health (CIMH) from 1998 to 2010, designing and implementing program improvements and leading efforts to circulate evidence-based practices in the field.
Human Services Manager, Mari Cook
Mari Cook has served as the DHS Human Resources Manager since January 2019. As the Human Resources Manager for the Department, Mari is responsible for overseeing the day to day operational management of the Human Resources Unit, including employee/labor relations, performance management, organizational development and training, payroll, and general administration. Mari helps establish policy priorities, procedures, goals and objectives; consult with County HR, division heads and managers; and advise the department leadership in the formulation of HR policies and practices. She is familiar with the various laws, policies, programs and regulatory issues relating to the business practices of government and best practices in the field of Human Resources.
Mari comes to DHS as an experienced Human Resources manager with over twenty-five years of experience in human resources and employee and labor relations at the University of California. Most recently she was employed with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where she was a key member of the leadership management team, and responsible for formulating Human Resources' multi-year strategic plan, developing metrics, and effectively providing leadership and management of Human Resources operations. Mari graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from UC Davis.
Chief Financial Officer, Emilia Gabriele, M.Sc.
Emilia Gabriele has been serving as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Department since July 2019. As CFO, Emilia manages the Department’s $243 million annual budget and lead DHS’ budget development processes and strategies. Emilia’s leadership as CFO is integral to support the Department’s redesigning behavioral health system of care.
Emilia comes to DHS as an executive with over a decade of experience leading the financial operations of government-funded programs in the public and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, she was with Contra Costa County serving as CFO for the Employment and Human Services Department where she lead a team of 45 employees.
A Canadian native, Emilia has a Master in Science (M.Sc.) degree with concentration in finance and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with concentration in finance and economics from the Universite de Montreal’s business school, HEC Montreal. She is a California licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Most notably, Emilia a was a finalist for the Women Who Mean Business Award in 2013 and 2014 and a finalist for the CFO of the Year Award in 2013 by the San Diego Business Journal.
Health Care Privacy and Security Officer, Ken Tasseff
Ken Tasseff has served as the Healthcare Privacy and Security Officer for the County of Sonoma since April 2018. In his role with the County, he works within DHS where he also oversees Medical Records. He is a Certified Compliance Officer and holds certifications in Healthcare Privacy Compliance, Healthcare Research Compliance with the Health Care Compliance Association. He has extensive experience in all phases of health care compliance and is recognized across the state as an expert in public sector healthcare privacy compliance.
Prior to Sonoma County, Ken he spent five years as the Health Agency’s first Compliance Officer and Privacy Officer, developing a program that was recognized for excellence by the State. Prior to managing compliance programs, he was a public sector Human Resources Manager with over 10 years of experience in various HR roles. Ken is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Management Science and is an active member of the California Association of Privacy, Security and Compliance Officers.
Compliance Officer, Wendy Sanders, LCSW
Wendy Sanders, LCSW, CHC has worked for the Department since 2006, and has served as the DHS Health Care Compliance Officer since 2015. In her role as Compliance Officer, Wendy is responsible for administering an effective Health Care Compliance Program, ensuring regulatory compliance that includes, implementing written compliance policies, establishing compliance oversight, implementing effective lines of communication with staff, internal monitoring and auditing, staff training, and responding to compliance issues.
Wendy holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and holds a certification in Healthcare Compliance with the Health Care Compliance Association.
Wendy has worked over 25 years in the field of Health Care regulatory management in both the private and public sectors. Prior to her current role as Compliance Officer, she worked for nine years in the DHS Behavioral Health Division as the Quality Improvement Manager, focusing on access, quality, timeliness, and outcomes of services to people with mental health and substance use issues. Wendy also previously served as the DHS Privacy and Security Officer and Risk Manager. Wendy is an active member of the California Association of Privacy, Security and Compliance Officers.
Public Information Officer, Rohish Lal, MPH
Rohish Lal, MPH has been serving as public information officer for DHS since June 2018. He manages media relations, including establishing working relationships with news media, community groups, other agencies and government officials. As Public Information Officer, Rohish serves as a general spokesperson for the Department. He also works closely with staff to assist in planning for legislative advocacy issues for DHS as well as managing the Department’s public-facing website and social media pages.
A seasoned professional, Rohish has over eight years of experience in public sector health communications. He was previously an Assistant Information Officer for the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS), which oversees 12 departments and five offices that provide a range of health care services, social services, mental health services, alcohol and drug services, income assistance, and public health services. In addition to his CHHS experience, Rohish worked at Xerox State Healthcare, the Medi-Cal contractor, as an editor and content analys.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at San Francisco State University in Journalism and has Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from California State University, Northridge.