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The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative Reimagining Behavioral Health Support for All Children and Youth in California

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Join us for an exciting presentation about California’s transformative Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative which reimagines the way behavioral health support is provided to all children and youth in California. Melissa Stafford Jones, the Initiative’s Executive Director will discuss plans to expand the behavioral health workforce, build trust within the system of care, and address the behavioral health challenges facing California’s children and youth up to age 25. Come prepared to listen and ask questions about these statewide efforts.




Meet Our Speakers

Diane Dooley, MD, FAAP  – Chairperson, AAPCA1 Mental Health Committee

is an associate clinical professor of Family and Community Medicine at UC San Francisco and a pediatrician working at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. As a practicing pediatrician serving low-income patients, she has championed local and statewide initiatives to improve care for children. Now semi-retired, she serves as the chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics Chapter 1 Committee on Mental Health Access. She is also a member of the California Children’s Trust Steering Committee, the board of the American Academy of Pediatrics Chapter 1, and the steering committee for the UCSF Collaborative Research Network. She has also published and made presentations on mental health access and prevention, childhood obesity, and early childhood caries.


Melissa Stafford Jones – Executive Director, California Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative

Melissa Stafford Jones serves as Director of the California Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative at the California Health & Human Services Agency. Melissa’s career in health policy is grounded in deep dedication to the vision of improving health, well-being, and opportunity for all Californians to thrive and fully reach their potential, particularly those who are the most underserved and face the most structural barriers to opportunity. As Director of the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative, Melissa is working with CalHHS departments, sister state agencies and with partners and stakeholders throughout the state to reimagine California’s children and youth behavioral health system into an innovative, up-stream focused ecosystem where ALL children and youth are routinely screened, supported, and served for emerging and existing behavioral health (mental health and substance use) needs.

Prior to her appointment to CalHHS by Governor Newsom in Fall 2021, Melissa was Executive Director of the First 5 Association of California leading the development and implementation of the organization’s strategies to advance a whole child, whole family, equity-centered early childhood policy and systems change agenda. She served as Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region IX from 2014-2017 under the Obama administration and worked in partnership with local and state organizations, key stakeholders, and elected officials in communities throughout the region to implement the Affordable Care Act, increase access to health care and social services, and improve the lives and health of diverse communities.

Melissa previously was President & CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems leading the organization’s strategy to advance public policies that support the essential role of the safety net and improve health status and access to care for low-income and uninsured individuals and communities. In addition to her experience in public and health policy, she also worked in philanthropy, serving as Executive Director of the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation. Melissa holds a Masters’s degree in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Saint Mary’s College of California.