Dr. Southard joined the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health as Director in 1998, having served in a similar capacity in Kern County for five years prior. In his present role, Dr. Southard leads the largest public mental health system in the country, serving over 200,000 clients annually in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the nation, with a budget of over $1 billion.
Dr. Southard has been recognized for his dedication and leadership with the following Awards:
- The 2008 National Network for Social Work Managers Exemplar Award for outstanding achievement.
- The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 2006 Social Worker of the Yearâ€“ California Chapter.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2003 Award for Excellence in Community Mental Health Services, in recognition of ongoing efforts to building a comprehensive community care mental health system in Los Angeles County.
- The 2003 Tom Bradley Equal Opportunity award from the Los Angeles Metro Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration.
Dr. Southard is a past President of the California Mental Health Directors Association (CMHDA) and a Commissioner on Los Angeles County Children and Families First – First 5 LA Commission. He has served as an Associate Clinical Professor at UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences; as a Senior Fellow, Public Policy at UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research; and as a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Southard’s experience in academia also includes an eight-year stint teaching graduate psychosocial science courses for the Department of Social Work, California State University, Long Beach.
His prior experience within the Los Angeles County public mental health system includes seven years as Vice President of Mental Health Programs and Director of Clinical Services at El Centro Human Services Corporation, and four more years in other positions with El Centro.
A member of the American College of Mental Health Administrators, he actively participates, and has held leadership roles in a variety of professional and community organizations, including the California Mental Health Directors Association, Southern California Mental Health Directors Association, Kern County Network for Children, and California Social Work Education Consortium.
A licensed clinical social worker, Dr. Southard received his master’s degree in social work from University of California, Berkeley, after which he completed his post-graduate studies in social work at UCLA.
Dr. Southard and his wife, Carolyn, have two sons—Patrick and Adam. Dr. Southard is committed to his spiritual walk, his family, and his work as the Director of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. He is dedicated to enriching the lives of mental health clients, families and communities in Los Angeles County by creating HOPE, WELLNESS, and RECOVERY.