Guiding the transformation of mental health care for all Californians

Proposition 63, approved by California voters in 2004, created the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to drive transformational change across the state’s mental health system.

The Commission oversees the implementation of the far-reaching initiative, which imposed a 1 percent income tax on wealthy residents to pay for mental health services and established a framework for continuous improvement of mental healthcare in the state.

Partnering with public and private mental health agencies at all levels, the Commission works to ensure that people get the care they need in a timely, comprehensive, effective, and culturally competent manner. In everything, it vigorously promotes community collaboration.

A hallmark of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) is its directive that the Commission empower stakeholders and put them at the center of its decision-making process. Accordingly, the law reserves seats on the Commission for representatives of consumers and their families, service providers, law enforcement, educators, and employers, among others. The Commission also includes representatives of the Attorney General, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Senate, and the State Assembly.

Our Role

The Commission’s primary function is to oversee the implementation of the Mental Health Services Act. The Commission distributes grants, collects and shares spending and efficacy data on local programs, spreads best practices, conducts research into critical subject areas like criminal justice involvement of people with mental health needs, and engages experts to develop policy proposals and other pathbreaking solutions.

Data collection is an increasingly important focus for the Commission; its Transparency Suite is an online tool that provides high-level spending and outcome metrics for programs by county.

The Act charges the Commission with reviewing county spending of Mental Health Services Act money for prevention and early intervention programs. The Commission also distributes money raised through the Act for local innovation projects that pioneer new approaches to administration and treatment, like youth drop-in centers.

Another of the Commission’s continuing endeavors is to develop ways to overcome the stigma that often faces people living with mental health challenges.

The Commission advises the Governor and Legislature on mental health policy. In addition, lawmakers have periodically given the Commission new responsibilities, including distributing grants to expand mental health services in schools, helping develop voluntary standards to support mental health in the workplace, and helping to build a statewide suicide prevention plan.


What Guides Our Work

The principles of wellness and recovery guide the Commission, which prioritizes prevention and early intervention to minimize the harmful effects that can result from unaddressed mental health needs, particularly the seven negative outcomes identified by Prop. 63: suicide, incarceration, school failure, unemployment, prolonged suffering, homelessness, and the removal of children from their homes.

The Commission works through partnerships to catalyze transformational changes across service systems so that everyone who needs mental health care has access to and receives effective and culturally competent care.


Racial Equity Plan

The California mental health system has not been designed with an equity lens. Bias, discrimination, a lack of cultural competency and wide disparities exist within the mental health system.

To address these challenges effectively, mental health programs and practices must be informed by these challenges.

In partnership with the Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity, Race Forward, as well as the work of Vice Chair Mayra E. Alvarez, Executive Director Toby Ewing, and a dedicated team of Commission staff, the Commission created this plan for intentionally building racial equity strategies into Commission operations and priorities.


Mara Madrigal-Weiss portrait photo

Mara Madrigal-Weiss

MHSOAC Chair, San Diego

Mara Madrigal-Weiss is the Executive Director of Student Wellness and School Culture, Student Services and Programs Division, San Diego County Office of Education.

Her experience includes working with school communities as a Family Case Manager, Protective Services Worker and Family Resource Center Director.

Madrigal-Weiss received her M.A. in Human Behavior from National University, a M.Ed in School Counseling, and a M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University. Madrigal-Weiss has been dedicated to promoting student mental health and wellness for over 19 years.She is a past president of the International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA) the only international association dedicated to eradicating bullying worldwide.

Madrigal-Weiss is a member of the California Department of Education’s Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup. Commissioner Madrigal-Weiss serves as the designee of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction as a Commissioner on the Commission.

Mayra Alvarez portrait photo

Mayra E. Alvarez

MHSOAC Vice Chair, Los Angeles

Mayra Alvarez is the President of the Children’s Partnership, a nonprofit children’s advocacy organization.

She also serves as a First 5 California Commissioner, appointed by Governor Newsom. Previously, she served in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), most recently as Director of the State Exchange Group for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

She also served as the Associate Director for the HHS Office of Minority Health and was Director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at HHS. Alvarez received her graduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her undergraduate degree from University of California, Berkeley.

Commissioner Alvarez fills the seat of the Attorney General/designee.

Mark Bontrager portrait photo

Mark Bontrager

Commission Member, Napa

Mark Bontrager has been Behavioral Health Administrator for the Partnership HealthPlan of California since 2021. He was Director of Regulatory Affairs and Program Development for the Partnership HealthPlan of California from 2018 to 2021 and Executive Director of Aldea Children and Family Services from 2007 to 2018, where he was Deputy Director from 2005 to 2007. Commissioner Bontrager was an attorney in private practice from 2002 to 2006 and held multiple positions at the Villages of Indiana Inc. from 1996 to 2003, including Program Manager, Therapist and Social Worker. Commissioner Bontrager is vice chair of the Napa County Workforce Investment Board. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Indiana University School of Law and a Master of Social Work degree from the Indiana University School of Social Work.

Commissioner Mark Bontrager fills the seat of representative of a health care service plan or insurer.

Bill Brown portrait photo

Sheriff Bill Brown

Commission Member, Lompoc

Bill Brown was first elected as sheriff and coroner for Santa Barbara County in 2006, and reelected in 2010, 2014 and 2018. He had previously served as chief of police for the city of Lompoc from 1995-2007, and chief of police for the city of Moscow, Idaho from 1992-1995. He was a police officer, supervisor and manager for the city of Inglewood Police Department from 1980-1992, and a police officer for the city of Pacifica from 1977-1980.

Prior to his law enforcement career, Sheriff Brown served as a paramedic and emergency medical technician in the Los Angeles area from 1974-1977. Sheriff Brown holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Delinquency Control Institute, the Northwest Command College and the FBI National Executive Institute. Commissioner Brown fills the seat of a county sheriff.

Keyondria Bunch portrait photo

Keyondria Bunch

Commission Member, Los Angeles

Keyondria Bunch, Ph.D., is Supervising Psychologist for Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Dr. Bunch has been with Los Angeles County since 2008 and has worked in several positions including clinical psychologist and supervisor for the Emergency Outreach Bureau, clinical psychologist for the Specialized Foster Care Program, clinical psychologist for juvenile justice mental health quality assurance, and a clinical psychologist for Valley Coordinated Children’s Services.

She has been an adjunct lecturer at Antioch University as well as worked within the mental health court system around issues of competency. Dr. Bunch is currently a supervising psychologist at West Valley Mental Health outpatient program. Commissioner Bunch fills the seat of a labor representative.

Assembly Member Wendy Carillo portrait photo

Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo

Commission Member, Los Angeles

Wendy Carrillo was elected to serve in the California State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 52nd Assembly District, which is home to approximately 500,000 residents in the City of Los Angeles and South Glendale. Assemblywoman Carrillo brings her values of equity, justice and opportunity to her role as the Chair of the Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration, in addition to the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Health, Housing and Community Development, Utilities and Energy, Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation, and the Joint Committees on Legislative Budget, and Climate Change Policies. She serves as the Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities, Vice Chair of the Legislative Progressive Caucus, as a Commissioner for the California Film Commission and serves on the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Board. Additionally, Assemblywoman is a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, the California Native American Legislative Caucus, and the California Armenian Legislative Caucus.

Prior to her election, Assemblywoman Carrillo was a broadcast journalist and media pundit covering human rights, global conflict and US politics. Additionally, she worked in communications for a Service Employee International Union (SEIU) local supporting home-care and nursing home workers in California and served in local government as a Communications Deputy for the Los Angeles City Council. Assemblywoman Carrillo immigrated to the United States as a young child during the civil war in El Salvador, and is a first-generation American who is formerly undocumented. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetorical Communication Studies with a minor in Chicano Studies from California State University Los Angeles and a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science with an emphasis in demography from the University of Southern California. Assemblymember Carrillo represents the member of the Assembly selected by the Speaker of the Assembly.

Steve Carnevale portrait photo

Steve Carnevale

Commission Member, San Francisco

Steve Carnevale is the executive chairman of Sawgrass, a developer of digital industrial inkjet technologies and cloud-based mass customization software. He runs a family-owned wine business in the Napa Valley called Blue Oak and is the founder and chair of the advisory board for the UCSF Dyslexia Center which is translating cutting edge neuroscience to enable precision learning. In addition to other education non-profit board service, Carnevale is a founder and co-chairs Breaking-Barriers-by-8, where he works with other non-profits, schools, corporations, and foundations toward achieving 100 percent literacy for all by age 8. He is also an advisor to ESO Ventures, a social venture fund in Oakland for community workforce development of unrepresented populations and is the former President and Emeritus Chair of The Olympic Club Foundation, whose mission is to support disadvantaged youth sports programs that develop future community leaders. Commissioner Carnevale represents an employer with fewer than 500 employees.

Rayshell Chambers portrait photo

Rayshell Chambers

Commission Member, Los Angeles

Rayshell Chambers has been Co-Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer at Painted Brain since 2016. She was Program Analyst III at Special Service for Groups from 2011 to 2018. Chambers held several positions at the City of Los Angeles Human Services Department and Commission on the Status of Women from 2006 to 2010, including Legislative Coordinator and Community Outreach Coordinator. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree in public policy and administration from California State University, Long Beach.

Commissioner Chambers represents clients and consumers.

Shuo Chen portrait photo

Shuo (Shuonan) Chen

Commission Member, Berkeley

Shuo (Shuonan) Chen is General Partner at IOVC, an early-stage venture capital fund based in Silicon Valley focused on enterprise and SaaS, where she has invested in dozens of startups now unicorns or acquired by Fortune 50 companies. She is a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and Faculty at Singularity University, where she teaches entrepreneurship and emerging technologies. Chen is a co-author to one of the leading books on financial regulations published by Cambridge University Press. In addition to her investing and teaching roles, Chen is the CEO of Shinect, a Silicon Valley-based non-profit community of 5,000+ engineers passionate about entrepreneurship. She is also a Board Member of Decode, the largest tech and entrepreneurship community co-hosted with UC Berkeley and Stanford student organizations, alumni networks and entrepreneurship centers, as well as an Advisory Board Member of Yale School of Medicine's Center for Digital Health and Innovation. Commissioner Chen fills the seat of a family member.

Senator Dave Cortese portrait photo

Senator Dave Cortese

Commission Member, Santa Clara

California Senator Dave Cortese represents District 15 in the California State Senate which encompasses much of Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley. Along with his accomplished career as an attorney and business owner, the Senator previously served on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the San Jose City Council, and the East Side Union High School District Board. Senator Cortese was a major architect of School Linked Services, a program that connects students and families to behavioral health services and counseling in Santa Clara County. Commissioner Cortese fills the seat of a member of the Senate selected by the President pro Tempore of the Senate.

Itai Danovitch, M.D. portrait photo

Itai Danovitch, M.D.

Commission Member, Los Angeles

Itai Danovitch, M.D., MBA is Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles since 2012, as well as Director of Addiction Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai since 2008. His clinical practice and research focuses on substance use disorders, as well as the integration of medical and mental health services.

Dr. Danovitch is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and past president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Danovitch earned his medical doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. In his role as Commissioner, Dr. Danovitch fills the seat of a physician specializing in alcohol and drug treatment.

David Gordon portrait photo

David Gordon

Commission Member, Sacramento

David W. Gordon is the Superintendent of the Sacramento (CA) County Office of Education. He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and an Ed.M. and Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from Harvard University.

David has dedicated his career to education with a focus on Special Education. He has served on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Education Excellence, and a visiting scholar at Stanford University. Commissioner Gordon fills the seat of a superintendent of a school district.

Gladys Mitchell portrait photo

Gladys Mitchell

Commission Member, Sacramento

Gladys Mitchell served as a staff services manager at the California Department of Health Care Services from 2013-2014 and at the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs from 2010-2013 and from 2007-2009.

She was a health program specialist at California Correctional Health Care Services from 2009-2010 and a staff mental health specialist at the California Department of Mental Health from 2006-2007. She was interim executive officer at the California Board of Occupational Therapy in 2005 and an enforcement coordinator at the California Board of Registered Nursing from 1996-1998 and at the Board of Behavioral Science Examiners from 1989-1993.

She is a member of the St. Hope Public School Board of Directors. Mitchell earned a Master of Social Work degree from California State University, Sacramento. Commissioner Mitchell fills the seat of a family member of a child who has or has had a severe mental illness.

Photo of James L. (Jay) Robinson III, PsyD, MBA

James L. (Jay) Robinson III, PsyD, MBA

Commission Member, Sacramento

James L. (Jay) Robinson III, PsyD, MBA is the hospital administrator for Kaiser Permanente (KP) hospital Sunnyside and Westside Medical Centers and leads operations for the three ambulatory surgery centers for Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

In 2018, Jay was recognized as one of the 100 great leaders in health care by Becker’s Healthcare. He holds bachelor and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology and has MBA from Concordia University Chicago. Jay has served as a Baldrige examiner for the State of Tennessee and is trained in Lean Six Sigma. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in the school of Preventative Medicine and lecturer for the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J Tyson School of Medicine.

Jay brings 27 years of experience as a leader in hospital administration and clinical operations. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Jay focuses on employee engagement — teamwork and collaboration — to build community, drive quality, improve the patient care experience, and achieve high employee satisfaction. Jay’s background includes serving as president of AMITA Saint Joseph Hospital, a 321-bed teaching hospital in Chicago; serving as CEO of Methodist South Hospital, a 145-bed community hospital in Memphis; and 20 years working within the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he worked at 5 different medical centers in roles of progressive complexity.

In his spare time, Jay enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, hiking and biking. He is on the boards of Metro Portland Habitat for Humanity and Unity Behavioral Health(Chair).

Al Rowlett portrait photo

Al Rowlett

Commission Member, Sacramento

Al Rowlett was named Turning Point Community Programs’ Chief Executive Officer in 2014. Commissioner Rowlett has been with the agency since 1981 and today provides leadership and guidance to over 40 programs in several Northern and Central California counties. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ottawa University, a Master’s in Business Administration in Health Services Management from Golden Gate University and in Social Work from California State University, Sacramento. He is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Rowlett was appointed as a trustee to the Elk Grove Unified School District in 2009 serving through 2012. He is currently a Volunteer Clinical Professor at the University of California, Davis Department of Psychiatry co-directing the Community Psychiatry seminar for residents and formerly served as an adjunct professor for the CSUS Mental Health Services Act cohort. In 2020, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon re-appointed Al to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Board. Commissioner Rowlett fills the seat of a mental health professional.

In Memoriam

Tina Wooton portrait photo

Tina Wooton

Commission Member, Santa Barbara

Tina Wooton worked in the mental health system for 23 years, advocating for the employment of consumers and family members at the local, state and federal levels. From 2009 to 2021 she served as the Consumer Empowerment Manager for the Santa Barbara County Department of Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services.

From 2005 through 2009 she worked as the Consumer and Family member liaison for the California State Department of Mental Health and was staff to the state Mental Health Services Act Implementation Team. Between 1997 and 2005 she served as Consumer Liaison for the Mental Health Association / County Mental Health of Sacramento and as service coordinator for Human Resources Consultants from 1994 through 1997.

Wooton was Vice President of AMP (Arts Mentorship Program) for Santa Barbara Dance Arts and a Santa Barbara Elks member. Commissioner Wooton represented clients and consumers.

Click to read more about Commissioner Wooton in a remembrance.

MHSOAC Contracts

To request a copy of a specific contract, send an email to: mhsoac@mhsoac.ca.gov

Click here for a list of active contracts.

MHSOAC Workforce and Succession Plan

View the MHSOAC Workforce and Succession Plan 2018 – 2023: Click here.