Dr. Loretta Denering appointed Behavioral Health Director


VENTURA, Calif. – The Ventura County Board of Supervisors, in concurrence with the County Executive Officer and the Health Care Agency Director, has appointed Dr. Loretta Denering the new Behavioral Health Director. The appointment follows an extensive recruitment process that included both internal and external candidates and attracted more than 50 applicants.

“Dr. Denering brings a wealth of experience to the position and her extensive understanding of both the public and private sectors will continue to be an invaluable asset to the Behavioral Health Department,” said Dr. Sevet Johnson, County Executive Officer. “Dr. Denering has led with vision as the Interim Behavioral Health Director, and we look forward to her continued good work. Her experience and dedication to serving the residents of our community, while navigating complex state and federal behavioral health requirements, will ensure the essential continuity of services for patients and continued excellence in care for our community.”

Denering, prior to her current tenure as the Interim Behavioral Health Director, most recently served as the Assistant Behavioral Health Director for the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department and prior to that as the Substance Use Services Division Chief for the Department. Before working in the County of Ventura, Denering served as a Unit Chief with the Substance Abuse Prevention and Control Division for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. She has also worked for UCLA Health as a bio-behavioral scientist and Project Director for the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed by the Board of Supervisors as the County Behavioral Health Director,” stated Denering. “As we embark on implementing the State’s Behavioral Health Transformation initiative, I am eager to work in collaboration and partnership with the Board and County leadership. I look forward to working with community members and stakeholders as we transform our behavioral health system to better care for our most ill, unsheltered, and vulnerable residents.”

Denering holds a Master of Science degree in clinical psychology from California Lutheran University. She earned her Doctorate of Public Health with a focus on health promotion and education, evaluation, and social epidemiology from Loma Linda University.

The Director of Behavioral Health reports to the Director of the Health Care Agency and is responsible for the administration of the County’s Behavioral Health programs and services. These include programs for adults, youth, families and substance use.

Denering, a Thousand Oaks resident, will assume her role effective June 23. Her annual salary will be $257,657.