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San Mateo County Health System Names David A. Young as New Director of Behavioral Health & Recovery Services

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The San Mateo County Health System is pleased to announce that David A. Young, PhD, MPH, has been appointed director of its Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) division. Young succeeds Stephen Kaplan, who is retiring after twelve years of service to the County and four decades in the field of mental health and substance use services.

David A. Young comes to BHRS most recently from SageSurfer, a Fremont-based behavioral health technology company, where he served as Chief Clinical Officer. With more than thirty years’ experience in behavioral health, in both the nonprofit and private sectors, he has also held executive leadership positions in such Bay Area community organizations as Edgewood Center for Children and Families, Community Health for Asian Americans, Stars Behavioral Health Group, and Asian Community Mental Health Services. 

Young received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and began his career delivering psychosocial services to children and families coping with chronic and end stage illnesses in hospital settings. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship in the multicultural training program at Boston University School of Medicine and earned a master’s degree at the Harvard School of Public Health.

A Bay Area–native, Young says his work in behavioral health has been informed by the values of his immigrant family and from growing up as the son of a physician. “My father came to Hawaii from China during the Second World War, served in the U.S. Army, and later studied medicine at Stanford University. From him, I learned the importance of community service and seeing the world from a multicultural perspective.” Young’s father trained the initial medical staff and sat on the board of Oakland-based Asian Health Services, which began in 1974 as a one-room clinic and has become a major provider of health services to Asians and Pacific Islanders. “Growing up, I saw the challenges immigrants faced in accessing quality health care and how community leadership can make a difference in people’s lives.”

Young joined BHRS on September 1st for substantial overlap with Stephen Kaplan before his retirement at the end of the month.

“David joins the Health System at a critical time for mental health and substance use services in San Mateo County and across the nation,” says Louise Rogers, Chief of the San Mateo County Health System. “There is more cause than ever to provide the best care to those in need with compassion and cultural humility. David’s emphasis on health equity and his experience working with impacted populations will further BHRS’ relationship as a trusted partner in the community.”

Under Kaplan’s direction, BHRS expanded client access to care, integrated behavioral health services across the Health System, utilized San Mateo County Measure A and K funds to expand access to youth treatment, support re-entry services for people involved in the criminal justice system, built new facilities, fostered community partnerships, and advocated for expanded behavioral health coverage and resources at the state and national levels.

“I’m honored to build on such a strong legacy of providing integrated and culturally sensitive services,” Young says. “From prevention to early intervention and treatment, San Mateo County has long been a leader in reducing stigma and providing a broad spectrum of behavioral health services. There are always more opportunities to improve access and care, and I look forward to working closely with our partners and the community to reach those who need it most.”

Behavioral Health and Recovery Services provides care to approximately 15,000 clients per year, through six County-operated clinics and a network of over 380 contracted providers. 

Interviews and high-resolution images for publication are available upon request.

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