The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has appointed Dr. Noemi Doohan the new medical director for the county’s health care centers.
As a member of the department’s executive team, Dr. Doohan will direct the 25 staff physicians, eight advanced practice practitioners and 24 contracted specialists delivering care at the county’s five Federally Qualified Health Centers and three shelter-based Health Care for the Homeless clinics.
“I am thrilled,” Dr. Doohan told the News-Press about his new position. “I feel like my entire career has been preparing me to be of service to my home community through this role. My husband Jim and kids Bella and Matthew were born and raised in this community, and we have deep roots here. It’s great to be back home.”
Dr. Doohan joins Santa Barbara County with 20 years of experience in the medical field. She is board-certified in family medicine and earned her medical degree at Stanford University, followed by a residency in family medicine at the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center in Martinez.
Dr. Doohan earned a doctorate in molecular biology from UCSB and a master’s in public health from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
“Every aspect of my career has prepared me for this role,” she told the News-Press. “For example, I founded the Santa Barbara Street Medicine nonprofit Doctors Without Walls right out of family medicine residency training, and now I am joining the county in exploring opportunities to collaborate with DWW and CenCal Health to provide Enhanced Care Management (as part of CalAIM) for our communities experiencing homelessness.”
Dr. Doohan has broad experience in all aspects of primary care as a family medicine provider and as a leader in private practice, FQHCs, rural and tribal clinics, urgent care, hospitalist medicine, street medicine, corrections, global health and medical education.
She has extensive experience in public health as the Mendocino County health officer through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, deputy health officer in both Mendocino and Santa Barbara counties, and as a medical officer focusing on COVID-19 and other public health emergencies for the California Department of Public Health.
Dr. Doohan also served as co-chair of the Health Equity Committee from September 2020 through March 2022 for the California Conference of Local Health Officers.
“As the medical director, I lead a team of four supervising physicians overseeing a staff of more than 30 physicians, nurse practitioners, and other support staff employed in our five health centers and three shelter clinics,” she said. “I oversee all clinical services of the health centers and ensure oversight and compliance with local, state and federal mandates to achieve organizational goals and requirements. Several of the key responsibilities that I most look forward to are staff development and physician recruitment and retention.”
Dr. Doohan discussed her goals for her new position.
“SBCPHD is an exceptional public health department with an outstanding health care delivery system. My goal through the Division of Primary Care and Family Health is to build on the work of the prior leadership, in partnership with the outstanding teams working now, to address the unique healthcare needs of our patient population and improve the lives of our community members every day.
“I care deeply, as does SBCPHD, about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Alongside this DEIB value, I have deep belief in the power of our public health department to bring better lives to all the people of this paradise county.
“I’m so happy to have this opportunity.”