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Dr. Maria Lorente- Foresti
ODE Director


Dr. Maria Lorente-Foresti is a relentless leader of ODE in advocating for equity, diversity and cultural awareness in the San Mateo County Community. She is greatly admired for her exquisite ability to create close and trusting relationships through listening and sharing decision-making with staff, internal and external leaders, and diverse community members. Maria has successfully used this collaborate approach to foster culturally responsive actions such as: creating CLAS training videos to enhance the use of interpreters in behavioral health, creating the Health Ambassador Program (HAP) curriculum to effectively connect individuals to appropriate care and support, insure the County was informed of COVID-19 related experiences of marginalized communities, and directing outreach to the community via a series of Town Halls focused on recovery updates, community needs, and the voice of community based organizations. Her commitment and progress in furthering cultural equity is particularly impressive given the past year of impacted ODE workforce changes, civil unrest, fires, and the pandemic.

In summary, it is a great honor to work with Maria and to be part of the Office of Diversity and Equity in enacting initiatives to promote the Behavioral Health & Recovery Services vision of making our community and the County as a whole a more equitable institution.