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Bernalillo County

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County Manager Appoints New Director to the Department of Behavioral Health Services

4:03 PM
Breanna Anderson C (505) 228-5556 - abizbybre@gmail.com

Bernalillo County – Today Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca announced that Margarita Chavez-Sanchez is the new director for the county’s Department of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS).

Chavez-Sanchez, a former special projects coordinator and assistant director of the Department of Behavioral Health Services, served as interim director for DBHS the last four months.

Former Behavioral Health Services Director Katrina Hotrum-Lopez took a new job in August as cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department.

More than 80 applicants applied for the director position. County Manager Julie Morgas Baca says Margarita Chavez-Sanchez’s track record was unmatched.

Chavez-Sanchez was one of the first county employees assigned to help establish the Behavioral Health Initiative, and she has played a major role in all of the milestones and successes achieved by the department so far.

“In five short years, the Behavioral Health Initiative has launched 22 programs, infused $20 million into the behavioral health industry by partnering with service providers, committed more than $70 million to behavioral health projects, and most importantly helped more than 50,000 people,” says County Manager Julie Morgas Baca.

“Margarita’s experience in community health and emergency services has greatly benefitted us at Bernalillo County and I’m confident her expertise and experience will continue to guide this massive effort,” Morgas Baca adds.

Chavez-Sanchez has more than a decade of experience working in the public health sector. Her resume includes a graduate fellowship in Washington D.C. with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, policy work through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, experience working in the Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Room, and years of work dedicated to promoting health and wellness for the University of New Mexico and Bernalillo County.

Chavez-Sanchez graduated magna cum laude from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in university studies and summa cum laude with a Master of Science in community health.

“I’m so honored to continue the critical work we’re doing at DBHS,” says Director Margarita Chavez-Sanchez. “We have an amazing team, comprised of passionate and dedicated individuals who are intensely focused on delivering treatment solutions to individuals living with a mental health condition or an addiction. Together with our partners and service providers we are changing lives and I couldn’t be prouder.”

The DBHS oversees the Behavioral Health Initiative and operations at the CARE Campus (formerly MATS), which provides a range of services including: seven substance abuse programs, the Crisis Stabilization Unit, and DWI services.

In addition to space for all the services, the CARE Campus consists of residential units for the supportive aftercare program and manages Renee’s Project Supportive Housing, the Mariposa Residential Program, and the Addiction Treatment Program.

Collectively, more than 30,000 people are served each year through all the department’s behavioral health programs.

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About the Behavioral Health Initiative

Bernalillo County together with the City of Albuquerque is strategically leveraging resources and making decisions with community member and stakeholder input through the Behavioral Health Initiative. For more information about BHI click here.

About Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County is 1,160 square miles and is New Mexico’s most populous county with more than 674,000 residents. Bernalillo County government provides a wide range of public services to residents who live in Albuquerque, Los Ranchos and Tijeras and the 111,000 residents who live outside the village and city limits in the unincorporated areas of the county. Bernalillo County employs approximately 2,500 people and has an annual operating budget and capital investments of more than $500 million. Elected officials include five county commissioners, assessor, clerk, probate judge, sheriff and treasurer.

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