Nancy Peña

Senior Fellow

San Jose, California

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Nancy Peña is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, who has been working in the field of Mental Health Service Delivery for the past 40+ years.  She began her career as the Mental Health Director of a community-based agency in San Jose, California that serves the Spanish-speaking community. In 1984, she joined the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department (MHD) where she worked for 30 years in a variety of positions which included, Director of Psychiatric Inpatient Social Services, Director of Mental Health Children and Family Services Division, Deputy Director, and Director of Mental Health, which she held for 14 years until her retirement in December 2014. At the time of her retirement, the MHD served over 28,000 clients through a large county-wide network of county-operated and contracted providers with a FY15 budget of over $350 million. She is past president of the California Mental Health Directors Association (CMHDA) and past Co-Chair of the CMHDA Children’s System of Care Committee and the Social Justice Advisory Committee.  She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the California Institute of Mental Health (CIMH), the California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth (CMHACY), and the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).

Since her retirement, Nancy has been a consultant with several local and state organizations, and since 2016 she has served as Co-Director of the CIBHS Leadership Institute, a training program developed and delivered by the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy and the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS).  Nancy’s passions are teaching strengths-based collaborative leadership, supporting person- and community-centered care, advocating for socially and racially just systems transformation, and being the grandmother of two amazing young girls.