Daniel Nielson Named Interim Director of Santa Barbara County Public Health Department


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(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – Effective July 15, 2022, Daniel Nielson will start his new role as Interim Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. This assignment is initiated upon the departure of Dr. Van Do-Reynoso after five dedicated and eventful years of service with the County of Santa Barbara. 

Daniel Nielson has led the County of Santa Barbara Social Services department, the largest department in the County, for the past nine years. As Director of Social Services, he has overseen critical county programs and services such as child welfare, Medi-Cal eligibility, protective services, as well as workforce development to name a few. Prior to Santa Barbara County, Nielson was the Director of the Health and Human Services Agency in El Dorado County where he oversaw the Public Health, Mental Health, Social Services and Community Services Departments. His vast experience in issues surrounding public health will serve him well in the interim director role.   

Nielson will continue to head the Social Services Department while assuming the role of Interim Director of the Public Health Department, with support from Public Health executive staff.

It is anticipated that the search for a permanent Director of the Public Health Department will be a nationwide search that will take approximately six months.

Dr. Van Do-Reynoso has served as Public Health Director since 2017, leading the Department through countless events and disasters, such as the Thomas Fire and other wildland fires, the 1/9 Debris Flow and the COVID 19 pandemic ensuring our County’s health and safety. Van has artfully and gracefully led her department of 529 FTEs with a budget over $103 Million weaving trusting connections among the people, programs, and services including Animal Services, Environmental Health, Disease Control, Administration, Finance, Emergency Medical Services, Primary Care & Family Health; She will continue to work with the community in her new role as Chief Customer Experience Officer with CenCal Health.   

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