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News Release —
Marin County Appoints New Public Health Officer

Dr. Lisa Santora to replace retiring Dr. Matthew Willis in September
Dr. Lisa Santora speaks before the Board of Supervisors.

Body of News Release

San Rafael, CA – Dr. Lisa Santora, a physician and public health leader with over 20 years of experience, has been appointed as the new Marin County Public Health Officer. Santora, who has served as the Deputy Public Health Officer in Marin County for the past nine years, will succeed Dr. Matt Willis, who is retiring at the end of September.

The appointment will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for confirmation at its June 4 meeting. Santora is scheduled to start in her new role September 3. As Public Health Officer, she will lead efforts to advance the division’s mission and goals, including health equity for all in Marin. 

"I want to thank Dr. Willis for his exceptional service as Marin County's Public Health Officer over the past 11 years,” said Dr. Lisa Warhuus, Director of Marin County Health and Human Services. “His leadership and dedication have been invaluable to our community. I am also delighted to welcome Dr. Santora as our next Public Health Officer. With her extensive knowledge, experience, and deep commitment to the well-being of our residents, she is undoubtedly the best candidate for this role."

Santora has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, a master’s degree in public health from the State University of New York in Buffalo, and a Doctorate of Medicine from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, NJ. She is a licensed and board-certified medical doctor in the states of California and Florida and belongs to the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Public Health Association.

For nearly a decade, Santora has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the Marin Severe Weather Emergency Shelter, the County Emergency Evacuation Shelter activation for the 2017 North Bay wildfires, and the Marin COVID-19 pandemic response. As a public health advocate and champion of patient care, Santora successfully secured funding for a five-year, $10 million Whole Person Care Pilot initiative in Marin, which provided the building blocks for the County’s current approach to addressing homelessness and the implementation of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) program. She also spearheaded an innovative clinical service integration system that improved patient care and outcomes while also yielding $2 million in annual savings.

Willis said, "I want to express my gratitude to our community for supporting public health in Marin, especially through the pandemic. I’ve had the privilege of working side-by-side with Dr. Santora for eight  years, and I know we’re in the excellent hands under her leadership." 

Santora added, "I am deeply honored to be appointed as Marin County's new Public Health Officer. I look forward to continuing to serve our community in this new role, with a dedicated focus on achieving health equity for all residents of Marin. By fostering collaboration and embracing innovation, we can create a brighter, healthier, and more equitable future for everyone in our county. Together, we will build on our strengths and address the challenges ahead to ensure that all members of our community have the opportunity to thrive."

Page updated May 30, 2024