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Santa Barbara County appoints new Public Health Director and new Agriculture Commissioner

Santa Barbara County's new appointments: Dr. Mouhanad Hammami as the county's Public Health Director (left), and Jose Chang as the new Agriculture Commissioner/Director of Weights & Measures (right).
Santa Barbara County / KEYT
Santa Barbara County's new appointments: Dr. Mouhanad Hammami as the county's Public Health Director (left), and Jose Chang as the new Agriculture Commissioner/Director of Weights & Measures (right).

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – The County of Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors announced the new appointments for Public Health Director as well as Agriculture Commissioner on Tuesday.

Mouhanad Hammami, MD, MHSA, will start on Jan. 23, 2023 as the county's new Public Health Director.

Dr. Mouhanad Hammami. PC: Santa Barbara County

“I am so excited to be joining the public health team at Santa Barbara County and grateful for the trust of County Executive Miyasato and the Board of Supervisors have placed in me to lead the department. This is such an important time for public health as we are recovering from a pandemic that reaffirmed the importance of public health,” said Hammami, “It is a great honor and a privilege to serve residents of Santa Barbara County in ensuring that all their health and wellbeing needs are met as we advance towards a, ‘One Healthy, Santa Barbara County’.”

With his more than 20 years of experience in public government administration and healthcare, Dr. Hammami will assume the role from Interim Public Health Director Daniel Nielson.

Nielson, who was appointed to the interim position following the departure of Dr. Van Do-Reynoso in July 2022, will continue to lead the County of Santa Barbara Social Services department.

“Dr. Hammami is just what our County needs as we move forward from the pandemic," said Board Chair and Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann. "He is going to be a great asset to the County leading the strategy to improve health for all individuals and improve the underlying social determinants of health in our communities."

According to the county, Dr. Hammami spent 18 years working in public health, service and collaboration for Wayne County Michigan.

In his tenure in Wayne County, Dr. Hammami was Director and Chief Health Officer for the Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness serving 1.2 million residents.

Dr. Hammami also served as Senior Vice President at a not-for-profit health system operating 94 hospitals in 22 states, according to county officials.

During the COVID pandemic, Dr. Hammami served as the Chief Health Strategist for Wayne County, where he assembled the COVID Command Center and team to address the County’s pandemic preparedness efforts; expanded testing, and established and implemented a successful vaccination plan.

County officials said Dr. Hammami received a medical degree from the University of Aleppo, Syria; a certificate in the foundations of public health from the University of Michigan and a master’s in health services administration from the University of Michigan.

For information about the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, visit:

Also starting their role on Jan. 23, Jose Chang will serve as the new Agriculture Commissioner/Director of Weights & Measures.

Jose Chang. PC: Santa Barbara County

“The experience, skill set and education I have gathered over the past 18 years have led me to this position. I have worked in Napa where wine grapes are the primary crop and as you know, wine grapes are one of the top agricultural commodities here,” said Chang. “In addition, working in Monterey County I acquired knowledge and experience of the vegetable and fruit crops grown there, ranging from strawberries to broccoli, which have tremendous economic value in Santa Barbara County.”

Chang will take over as Commissioner from Cathy Fisher, who is retiring after 12 years in the role.

County officials said Chang has worked in agriculture/weights and measures since 2006 for Napa County, and most recently Monterey County.

Chang served as the President of the California Association of Standards and Agricultural Professional in 2018-2019, and in his role as Assistant Agriculture Commissioner/Sealer for Monterey, he handled a $13 million budget and 80 staff members, according to the county.

County officials said Chang received a Bachelor of Science degree from UC Davis in Plant Biology.

The county also added that Chang is bilingual in English and Spanish, and that he holds his California Department of Food and Agriculture license for Agricultural Commissioner, Sealer, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner and Deputy Sealer.

For information about the department, visit:

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County Agriculture
santa barbara county public health

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