Health Services Executive Team
Director Tina Rivera
Tina Rivera, a veteran government official and nonprofit leader with more than 25 years of experience delivering health care and social services to the public, has been named director of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services following a nationwide recruitment search.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote to confirm her appointment for a three-year term at its March 1 meeting.
A native of Louisiana, Rivera has worked for the County of Sonoma since 2018. For the past nine months, she has served as interim director of Health Services, leading the department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and homelessness emergency.
James Gore, chair of the Board of Supervisors, said Rivera’s performance facing some of Sonoma County’s biggest challenges over the past four years and her intimate knowledge of local health care and social services are among the reasons she was selected to lead the department into the future.
“Over the course of her career, Tina has repeatedly forged creative, collaborative and cost-effective solutions to difficult problems, making real differences in the lives of real people,” Gore said. “She is not just a sharp financial administrator, but she brings optimism and heart to even the most intractable situations. We are lucky to have her lead the Department of Health Services.”
Rivera joined the Department of Health Services in January 2020 as assistant director and concurrently served as assistant director of the Community Development Commission, the county’s lead agency for housing and homeless programs. She was promoted to interim director of Health Services in May 2021, succeeding Barbie Robinson, who was named public health director for Harris County, Texas. From 2018 to 2020, Rivera served as administrative services director for the county’s Department of Human Services, overseeing its finance and operations unit.
The Sonoma County Department of Health Services has more than 580 employees and a budget of $330 million. Its four divisions work to protect and improve the health and well-being of Sonoma County’s 484,000 residents through data-driven programs and partnerships with other government agencies, nonprofits and businesses.
“I am very proud of the services our team have delivered during one of the most difficult times in our county’s history,” said Rivera. “This is government at its best: helping people across our community when they need it the most, and doing it with excellence, efficiency and equity. But the challenges we face require collaboration. I look forward to engaging with the public and community stakeholders on a level we’ve never done before.”
As the No. 2 administrator at Health Services since the onset of the pandemic, Rivera played a central role in shaping the county’s response to COVID-19 even before her promotion to interim director last May. She led efforts to create alternate care sites, creating safe places for people to quarantine and shelter. The vaccination campaign coordinated by her department has delivered nearly 1 million doses to the public over the last 14 months and vaccinated 80 percent of the county’s eligible population, 10th highest among the state’s 58 counties.
At the Community Development Commission, Rivera directed a multi-agency initiative to clear large homeless encampments and place more than 100 people in permanent residences, shelters and residential treatment programs. She also negotiated the acquisition of two hotels to create permanent supportive housing for up to 75 homeless people under the Project Homekey initiative.
As director of Health Services, Rivera said she will place a priority on delivering public health and mental health services equitably, targeting people with the greatest needs, while addressing systemic issues that have created disparities in our community.
“It is important to provide a space for conversations about racism and other systemic issues that impact the health of our community. These are difficult conversations to have, but essential,” Rivera said.
Rivera has more than 25 years of leadership experience in administration, program development, budgeting, finance and grant administration. Before joining the county in 2018, she served as northwest region chief financial officer and administrative services director for the State of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. She also served as federal grants administrator for the City of Shreveport, Louisiana, and executive director at Compassion Center, a Shreveport nonprofit where she developed and implemented programs to provide housing and behavioral health services for vulnerable populations.
Rivera has a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwestern State University and studied finance at Louisiana State University.
Her salary as Director will be set at $240,312 annually.
Recruitment in process
Public Health Division Director Dr. Gabe Kaplan
As Public Health Division Director, Dr. Kaplan will report to Director of Health Services, Tina Rivera and will serve as a member of the department's Executive Team.
Health Officer Dr. Sundari R. Mase, MD, MPH
Dr. Sundari R. Mase began serving as the County’s Health Officer March 2020. Dr. Mase brings local, state, federal and international experience to Sonoma County most recently serving as an independent Tuberculosis (TB) consultant for all aspects of TB clinical, programmatic and research activities; prior to that she was the India Country TB Medical Officer for the World Health Organization (WHO).
She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She finished her residency in Internal Medicine at UCSF and, subsequently, obtained her Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Epidemiology at UCB. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Infectious Disease Department at Emory University and served as Associate Clinical Professor at UCSF.
The County Health Officer is responsible for the protection and promotion of the public's health for all in Sonoma County. She will 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.
Behavioral Health Director
Recruitment in process
Human Resources 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.
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.
Chief Financial Officer, Paul Wood, MBA
Paul comes to DHS most recently from Santa Rosa Community Health where his leadership and analysis of finance and operations helped them remain fiscally sustainable through multiple wildfires and Covid-19 challenges. He has 17+ years of experience in corporate strategy and analysis, successfully improving cost and revenue in the business and non-profit sectors and making them financially sustainable organizations. He also brings with him over 10 years of management and leadership in both corporate and non-profit organizations.
Paul's leadership as CFO will be integral to support DHS' fiscal operations, maintain and enhance financial integrity, and support the Department's efforts to protect and promote health and wellness in our community. As CFO, he will manage the fiscal unit, and further develop our financial analysis, planning, reporting and risk management operations. As a member of the executive team, he will participate in strategic planning and ensure financial alignment and oversight.
He obtained a Bachelor's degree in Economics, and an MBA focused on C-level executive management from Sonoma State University.
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.