Steinberg Institute positions itself for the future with bold moves

Board of Directors announces CEO position, new officers, addition to the board of directors, new logo and website

California faces unprecedented challenges and opportunities in our mental health system. The Coronavirus pandemic has pushed a strained system to its breaking point. At the same time, the state has committed unprecedented funding to address homelessness and mental health. Navigating this evolving dynamic requires bold leadership, sound policy-making, and swift action.

To meet this moment, the Steinberg Institute is taking several critical steps. We believe that access to quality mental health care is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time and are committed to a system of care in which brain health is treated with the same sweep and urgency as physical health.

Karen Larsen selected as CEO

The Steinberg Institute Board of Directors has selected Karen Larsen to serve as the organization’s first-ever Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This new role will provide strategic direction and leadership to execute the organization’s mission.

Based on our Executive Director Maggie Merritt’s vision to establish a seasoned executive team for the institute, in December the Board of Directors launched a search for a CEO. In this new role, Larsen will elevate the Steinberg Institute’s voice and expand its reach. She brings more than 20 years of experience in mental health, substance use disorder, and homelessness program implementation to the institute.

“Karen has a track record of innovation and improving outcomes for California’s most vulnerable,” said Steinberg Institute founder Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “I’m thrilled she is bringing her bold ideas and leadership to the institute at such a critical time for the state’s mental health system.”

Larsen, currently the Director of Yolo County’s Health and Human Services Agency, has been dedicated to underserved communities in the Sacramento area for more than two decades. She spent more than 15 years working for community clinics as a licensed marriage and family therapist and began her career providing care for those struggling with substance use disorders. She has a passion for integrating care, with a goal of improving outcomes for the most vulnerable populations.

“Joining the Steinberg Institute feels like the culmination of my life’s work,” said Larsen. “We are at a pivotal moment in terms of our treatment and care for the mental wellness of all Californians. It’s an honor to join this team at this time as we strive to bring an independent voice and leadership to issues of mental health and substance use disorder policy.”

“I am thrilled that Karen answered our call and I look forward to working with her,” said Merritt. “I am positive that, together with our team, we will make great strides on behalf of California’s most vulnerable.”

Larsen will join the Steinberg Institute as CEO on March 1. If you’d like to reach her, please  email .

Karen Larsen

David Beier joins Steinberg Institute Board of Directors

The Steinberg Institute Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome new member, David Beier. Beier, Managing Director of Bay City Capital, serves on the boards of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, the patient advocacy organization, No Patient Left Behind, and the biotechnology firm, Infinity Pharmaceuticals. He also is a Member of the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy (‘Little Hoover Commission’). 

Previously he served in senior executive roles in the White House, Genentech and Amgen. During his career David worked as a partner in an international law firm, an ACLU staff attorney, Legal Services lawyer and Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary.

Beier brings a deep understanding of health care policy and program implementation to the Board of Directors. 

David Beier

New Officers to lead Steinberg Institute Board of Directors

The board also appointed new officers, following the successful completion of terms of previous officers. Tina Thomas, Azizza Davis Goines, Stephanie Graves and Anne Bakar step into key leadership roles at this exciting time for the organization. We’re thrilled to have the Board of Directors led by these four dedicated women.

Tina Thomas, J.D., Chair

Tina Thomas is founding partner of the Thomas Law Group, and before that, was a founding partner of Remy, Thomas, Moose & Manley, LLP, where she served as managing partner for 28 years. She has donated significant time and resources to championing the legal rights of nonprofit agencies that care for the homeless and disenfranchised. 

Tina Thomas

Azizza Davis Goines, Vice Chair

For the last 10 years, as President and CEO of the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, Azizza Davis Goines has strengthened partnerships and helped businesses recognize their growth potential by encouraging active community participation. Azizza was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Award, as well as a recipient of the Woman of Inspiration Award, Woman of Excellence Award, Community Service Award from the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce, and the California Black Chamber of the Year Award from the California Black Chamber of Commerce.

Azizza Davis Goines

Stephanie Graves, Treasurer

Stephanie Graves is president and chief executive officer of Lee Andrews Group, a Los Angeles-based public affairs firm that specializes in public outreach, government relations, and strategic and crisis communications. The firm is recognized as one of Southern California’s leading minority- and women-owned small businesses. She has played a significant role in many California local, state and federal campaigns. She serves as chair of the Central City Association of Los Angeles and is a longtime member of the Community Coalition of South Los Angeles.

Stephanie Graves

Anne Bakar, Secretary

 Anne Bakar is President and Chief Executive Officer of Telecare Corporation, a family- and employee-owned company offering a broad range of behavioral health services focused on promoting recovery for individuals with complex needs. She has led the company for more than three decades since taking over at age 29 after the unexpected death of her father, Morton Bakar, who co-founded Telecare in Oakland in 1965.Under Anne’s leadership, the company has grown from five Northern California inpatient programs in 1987 to more than 132 programs across 35 counties in 5 states. Today, Telecare’s 4,100+ staff members serve nearly 32,000 people a year.Anne is a national board member for the Kennedy Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity the National Council of Behavioral Health, the World President’s Organization, and the Bay Area Business Council.

Anne Bakar

To learn more about the Steinberg Institute Board of Directors, click here.

A new look for the Steinberg Institute

Today the Steinberg Institute is also unveiling a new logo and website. Our new logo captures our mission through bold colors and imaginative design.

Our new site features a dynamic home page that prompts more discovery for users and includes style updates to bring the site in line with today’s design standards. Utilizing an improved user experience, visitors can learn more about our successes over the past seven years, along with our priorities for the future.

The team worked with Tim Hoerl of Hoerl Design on the logo and website.

For more information about any of today’s announcements, please contact Director of Communications, Jason Shoultz ().

Steinberg Logo - Vertical
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