Health Agency Interim Director
Fred Leaf was appointed Interim Director of the Los Angeles County Health Agency by the Board of Supervisors in January 2018. The Health Agency structure was created in 2015 to foster stronger integration between the Departments of Health Services, Public Health and Mental Health.
Leaf brings over 35 years of professional experience to the role, including executive management experience in the Department of Health Services, the second largest public health system in the country and a leader in developing services for at-risk and vulnerable populations.
Most recently, he worked in the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, representing the County on a statewide health policy framework to preserve gains made under the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of affordable health care coverage.
Earlier, he served as Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s Senior Health Policy Advisor, a highly visible role where he coordinated all policy matters related to the Department of Health Services, Public Health, Mental Health, and Homelessness.
Prior to joining the office of Supervisor Antonovich, he served as the Chief Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Health Services, directing administration of an integrated system of hospitals, health centers and private, nonprofit clinic partners that together ensured delivery of a broad array of essential health services to County residents.
He also served as the Acting Director of Health Services, where he was responsible for the overall management and operations of the department that has a current annual operating budget of $4.3 billion and employs over 21,000 employees.
During his long tenure with the County, Leaf also served in management positions in the Departments of Mental Health and Public Health.
Christina Ghaly, M.D.
Health Services Director
Dr. Ghaly was appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as the Director of the Department of Health Services (DHS) on September 25, 2018 after having served in the role as Acting Director since October 2017. In this capacity, Dr. Ghaly has had responsibility for overseeing the operations of the County’s four public hospitals and 23 outpatient clinics. She leads strategic, operational, and clinical/financial initiatives critical to DHS’ financial health and continued transformation in an era of health reform.
Dr. Ghaly previously served as Chief Operations Officer for DHS from 2016 until her permanent appointment as Director. Her previous roles within DHS also include serving as the Deputy Director for Strategy and Operations and as the Interim Chief Executive Officer at Olive View – UCLA Medical Center and LAC+USC Medical Center.
In 2015, Dr. Ghaly served in a temporary role as the Director of Health Care Integration for the County of Los Angeles Chief Executive Office. This position was created to lead an assessment regarding the potential creation of a health care agency, integrating the Departments of Health Services, Mental Health (DMH) and Public Health (DPH). The Los Angeles County Health Agency was formally created in November 2015.
Dr. Ghaly attended Harvard Medical School and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ghaly currently sees patients in the urgent care and on the inpatient medicine service at LAC+USC Medical Center and Olive View – UCLA Medical Center, respectively.
Jonathan E. Sherin, M.D., Ph.D.
Mental Health Director
Dr. Sherin, a psychiatrist and neurobiologist by trade with a wide range of professional experience, was appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as the County’s Director of Mental Health effective November 1, 2016. In this role, he leads the largest public mental health system in the country, serving over 250,000 clients annually in the most populous and one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the nation.
Most recently Dr. Sherin served as the chief medical officer and executive vice president of military communities for Volunteers of America. Considered a leading authority on the care of veterans struggling with trauma and reintegration challenges, he has testified in Congress on veteran homelessness and suicide. Prior to joining Volunteers of America, he had a distinguished career in the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) where he held various clinical, teaching, research and administrative leadership positions. In his last VA post, he served as chief of mental health for the Miami VA Healthcare System.
An accomplished neurobiology researcher, Dr. Sherin has garnered international recognition for his work discovering a core sleep circuit in mammals that was published in “Science” magazine. He is a recipient of the prestigious Kempf Award from the American Psychiatric Association for his conceptual model of the psychotic process.
Dr. Sherin completed his undergraduate studies in neuroscience at Brown University, his graduate work at the University of Chicago and Harvard, and his postgraduate training at UCLA. He is a volunteer clinical professor as well as a member of the Center on Aging at the University of Miami and a volunteer clinical professor at UCLA.
Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed.
Public Health Director
Barbara Ferrer is a nationally‐known public health leader with over 30 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, educational leader, researcher, and community advocate. She has a proven track record of working collaboratively to improve population outcomes through efforts that build health and education equity.
Most recently, Dr. Ferrer served as the Chief Strategy Officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she was responsible for developing the strategic direction for critical program‐related work and providing leadership to the foundation’s key program areas: Education & Learning; Family Economic Security; Food, Health & Well‐Being; Racial Equity; Community Engagement; and Leadership Development.
Prior to working at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Ferrer served as the Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, where she led a range of public health programs and built innovative partnerships to address inequities in health outcomes and support healthy communities and healthy families. During her time as Executive Director, Dr. Ferrer secured federal, state, and local funding for critical public health infrastructure and community‐based programs. Under her leadership, the City of Boston saw significant improvements in health outcomes, including a decrease in the rates of childhood obesity, smoking, and infant mortality.
Dr. Ferrer has also served as Director of Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention and Director of the Division of the Maternal & Child Health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. As a headmaster at a district high school in Boston, she led efforts to significantly improve high school graduation rates and ensure that every graduating senior was accepted to college. Dr. Ferrer received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from Brandeis University, a Master of Arts in Public Health from Boston University, a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.