Dr. Mouhanad Hammami (left) and Jose Chang | Credit: Courtesy

Two new department heads joined the County of Santa Barbara, the CEO’s office announced today, Dr. Mouhanad Hammami with Public Health, and Jose Chang as the new Agricultural Commissioner.

Dr. Hammami will fill the petite but mighty shoes of Van Do-Reynoso, who led the county through the COVID-19 pandemic with calm and determination. He joins the Public Health Department — which also includes Animal Services, Environmental Health, and Emergency Services — from Wayne County, Michigan, where he is the chief health strategist and was elemental to that county’s pandemic response. In Michigan, as well as leading a health department for nine years, he was a senior VP for Trinity Health, a large not-for-profit health system, for three years, and taught at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He received his MD from Aleppo University in Syria, and graduate degrees in public health and administration from the University of Michigan.

Jose Chang comes to Santa Barbara County from Monterey and Napa counties, where he’d been in weights and measures for 16 years. He will take the place of Cathy Fisher, who is retiring after 12 years as the county ag commissioner. Chang is a graduate of UC Davis in plant biology, bilingual in Spanish and English, and familiar with Santa Barbara County’s major crops, such as wine grapes, strawberries, and broccoli. His division also regulates pesticides, pest prevention, and other ag programs.

Both new directors will start their new jobs on January 23, 2023.

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