After a nationwide search, the County of Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors has approved the appointment of Mouhanad Hammami, MD, MHSA as the new Public Health Director. His first day will be January 23, 2023. Dr. Hammami will assume the duties from Interim Public Health Director Daniel Nielson, who was appointed to the interim position following the departure of Dr. Van Do-Reynoso in July 2022. Nielson will continue to lead the County of Santa Barbara Social Services department.
Dr. Hammami has more than 20 years of experience in public government administration and healthcare. During the COVID-19 pandemic he served as the Chief Health Strategist for Wayne County, Michigan. There he assembled the Covid Command Center and team to address the County’s pandemic preparedness efforts; expanded testing, and established and implemented a successful vaccination plan.
Deeply committed to public health, public service and collaboration, Dr. Hammami spent 18 years working for Wayne County Michigan where in his tenure he was Director and Chief Health Officer for the Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness serving 1.2 million residents. In his time at Wayne County, Dr. Hammami implemented a “no wrong door” customer referral management system, integrated clinical services into the public health department forming a “wrap around” model of care delivery, and established new health centers in underserved areas. He has also served as Senior Vice President at a not-for-profit health system operating 94 hospitals in 22 states.
“Dr. Hammami is just what our County needs as we move forward from the pandemic. He is going to be a great asset to the County leading the strategy to improve health for all individuals and improve the underlying social determinants of health in our communities,” said Board Chair and Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann.
“I am so excited to be joining the public health team at Santa Barbara County and grateful for the trust of County Executive Miyasato and the Board of Supervisors have placed in me to lead the department. This is such an important time for public health as we are recovering from a pandemic that reaffirmed the importance of public health,” said Hammami, “It is a great honor and a privilege to serve residents of Santa Barbara County in ensuring that all their health and wellbeing needs are met as we advance towards a, ‘One Healthy, Santa Barbara County’.”
The Public Health Department performs a broad range of health-related services, including investigating disease outbreaks, conducting health education campaigns, inspecting food establishments, working with high risk mothers and children, operating health clinics for the underserved, staffing medical shelters during emergency evacuations and even caring for animals.
“Dr. Hammami is exceptionally well prepared to lead the team of more than 500 dedicated employees within the Public Health Department, and advance efforts to achieve optimal health and wellness in our communities,” said Mona Miyasato, County Executive Officer.
Hammami received a medical degree from the University of Aleppo, Syria; a certificate in the foundations of public health from the University of Michigan and a master’s in health services administration from the University of Michigan.
For information about the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and its many divisions, go to www.countyofsb.org/phd.