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Santa Rosa, CA  –  February 18, 2022  –  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.

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Media Contact:

Ted Appel, Communications Specialist
publicaffairs@sonoma-county.org
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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