County Behavioral Wellness Director Announces Departure

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Source: County of Santa Barbara

The County of Santa Barbara Behavioral Wellness Director, Alice Gleghorn Ph.D., after leading the department for 6.5 years has announced that she will be leaving her position to accept the position of President and CEO of Phoenix Houses of California, Inc., a private nonprofit substance abuse treatment program based in Southern California.  Dr. Gleghorn will continue with the department until mid June.

The County will soon open a national search for a new Behavioral Wellness Director who will continue the legacy of strong leadership and effective performance with the department, while addressing the community’s behavioral health needs including substance use disorder and mental health services.

“Since December 2014, it has been my great honor to work with an inspiring group of county staff and behavioral health professionals, including our contracted community-based organizations, county leaders in criminal justice, health, social services, and housing, peers, families and other community stakeholders, particularly our partners committed to addressing the impact of homelessness and racial equity on wellness,” said Dr. Gleghorn.

“The County of Santa Barbara appreciates Dr. Gleghorn’s many years of service and wishes her well in her new endeavor,” stated Gregg Hart, Santa Barbara County Supervisor, Second District.  “Under her leadership, the department has made tremendous progress in client care, quality of staff and program growth.” 

During Dr. Gleghorn’s directorship, numerous accomplishments occurred. Some of these include the addition of 170 new beds throughout the county, consistently high performances in annual audits and reviews, the opening of the county’s first mental health rehabilitation center for long term residential care, starting  the first crisis stabilization unit in the county and expansion of the crisis service system to develop mental health co-response teams linked with police and sheriff, launching a community overdose prevention program which has documented more than a thousand overdose rescues since 2016, and developing  a continuum of care  which embraces and expands  substance abuse treatment and specifically medication assistance treatment for those struggling with substance use disorders.

Assistant Director, Dr. Pam Fisher, has agreed to delay her retirement to assist the department until the recruitment for the next Behavioral Wellness Director is completed.

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a-1619024757 Apr 21, 2021 10:05 AM
County Behavioral Wellness Director Announces Departure

Once again... We don't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a NATIONWIDE search for local positions. Guess what you get when you hire someone willing to move between states for a position? A person willing to move AGAIN for a better position, doh! Let's try harder to use the HR departments we pay for (not $$$ outside agencies) to recruit people with ties to the community, with long track records of dedication to a position. (Nothing to do with you, Dr. Gleghorn, thank you for your work.)

RHS Apr 21, 2021 10:06 AM
County Behavioral Wellness Director Announces Departure

"Since December 2014, it has been my great honor to work with an inspiring group of county staff and behavioral health professionals..." So it seems that there are a great many qualified folks in the department at present. Why is it always the bureaucratic response to "launch a national search"? We need staff that knows the local situation and can find and utilize local resources. Hauling some resume' in from Connecticut or Idaho is not a likely good thing.

a-1619027234 Apr 21, 2021 10:47 AM
County Behavioral Wellness Director Announces Departure

Beyond the accurate comments made already, how can anyone come in to this labor market from outside and try to buy a home? Goleta track homes, a few years worth between $650,000 and $800,000 , are now getting multiple "bidders" above 1.3million. Condos have doubled in price the past few years and are sure to go up. Let's get real County H.R. and look to your already competent staff for promotions; well qualified professionals that already understand the problems locally and have committed to living here. (think of the recent promotion of the Fire Chief in Santa Barbara).

PitMix Apr 21, 2021 02:34 PM
County Behavioral Wellness Director Announces Departure

Outsourcing this function to the expensive monopoly health care systems in Santa Barbara? I guess you are one of the few people in SB that thinks they aren't paying enough in property and income taxes. If they pursue your idea, can you please show your commitment by paying my share of the increases?

citizenSB Apr 21, 2021 05:23 PM
County Behavioral Wellness Director Announces Departure

The reason I said Cottage or Sansum was to get a competitive bid. Perhaps there is other alternatives as well. Certainly having the county run their own program will be more expensive than necessary.

RHS Apr 21, 2021 06:23 PM
County Behavioral Wellness Director Announces Departure

Cottage hospital has been, at least in the past, a contractor for caring for those people facing mental health crisis without other resources. This was because the county refused to expand their own facility for reasons of self-interest (this is hard work). But Cottage did not earn a stellar rating for their efforts either. In the case of Cottage it became a cost analysis issue and they shirked doing much. We, the people of California, have failed to fund these programs for decades, allowing the present crisis on the streets. Will we change now? Not likely I am afraid.

PitMix Apr 22, 2021 07:20 AM
County Behavioral Wellness Director Announces Departure

At the risk of spreading unverified gossip, I had heard over the years that she was really hard to work for and had numerous HR claims filed against her, plus high turnover in her staff. This would be the kind of info that would be very interesting to see for all managers in the County system but is very hard to get under the guise of personnel confidentiality. If we had a functioning newspaper in this town, maybe they would do it, but the Indy doesn't have the resources and the NewsPress won't.

Seems to have worked out well for her, though.

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