Board Members

Name Appointing
Brown, Deborah, Board Chair Governor June 1, 2017 Public
Lock-Dawson, Patricia, Board Vice-Chair Governor June 1, 2017 Public
Ashley, Samara Governor June 1, 2017 Public
VACANT (Apply for Appointment) Governor June 1, 2018 Public
Brew, Leah, Dr. Governor June 1, 2020 LPCC
Chiu, Peter Governor June 1, 2019 Public
Connolly, Elizabeth "Betty" Governor June 1, 2020 LEP
Disposti, Massimiliano “Max” Assembly June 1, 2019 Public
Kohli, Sarita Governor June 1, 2018 MFT
Lonner, Renee Governor June 1, 2018 LCSW
Pines, Karen Governor June 1, 2017 MFT
Wietlisbach, Christine, Dr., Senate June 1, 2019 Public
Wong, Christina Governor June 1, 2017 LCSW

Individuals interested in being appointed to the Board of Behavioral Sciences, should please visit the Governor's website at

Board Member Deborah Brown

Deborah Brown, Public Member - Board Chair
Deborah Brown was appointed by Governor Brown as a public member in August 2012. Currently, she works as an Adjunct Faculty member and University Supervisor for the Department of Instruction and Curriculum at California State University, Fresno and is a Senior Examiner for the International Baccalaureate Organization, located in Cardiff, Wales. Ms. Brown was a secondary school educator for the Yosemite Unified School District in psychology from 1994-2015 and served as Social Science Department Chair for 17 years. In addition, she served as the school's WASC chair for 14 years as well as serving as a chair for WASC Visitation Teams for California secondary schools. She holds both a California Clear and Professional Teaching and Administrative Credential. From 1991-1993 she held a part-time position at California Polytechnic University, Pomona in the Administrative office. In addition, prior to entering the teaching profession, she served as Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember for the City of Rancho Cucamonga from 1986-1991. During this tenure, she also served on both the San Bernardino Associated Governments and the San Bernardino County Local Agency Formation Commission. Ms. Brown was a loan officer for the Crocker Bank from 1982-1985. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, Northridge.

Picture of Board Member Patricia Lock-Dawson

Patricia Lock-Dawson, Public Member - Board Vice Chair
Ms. Lock-Dawson was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger as a public member in 2010. She is a passionate advocate for the delivery of mental health services and realizes the importance of education for personal and community development. She was elected to the Riverside Unified School District Board of Education in 2011, and again in 2015. Additionally, Ms. Lock-Dawson is a former Chairperson of the Riverside City Planning Commission, where she served from 2007 to 2011, and is the former President of the Inland Empire Chapter of CA Women Lead, a statewide women’s leadership organization. She is presently active on several other boards and commissions, including the Riverside Land Conservancy where she is the current President, and the UC Riverside Alumni Board of Directors. Ms. Lock-Dawson also owns her own environmental and governmental affairs consulting firm.

Board Member Samara Ashley

Samara Ashley, Public Member
Ms. Ashley was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger as a public member in January 2010. She has served as director of government affairs for the Port of Long Beach since 2007. Previously, Ashley was an account executive for Cerrell Associates from 2004 to 2007, district field representative for Senator Betty Karnette from 2002 to 2004 and social service director and case manager for California Care Center from 1999 to 2002. She is a member of the Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce, Women's Transportation Seminar and American Association of Port Authorities.

Board member Dr. Leah Brew

Dr. Leah Brew, LPCC Member
Dr. Brew was appointed by Governor Brown as an LPCC member in August 2012. Dr. Brew is currently an LPCC and serves as the Department Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton. As part of her 11 years as a faculty member, Dr. Brew has served on other professional boards such as the President of California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, President of the Western Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and Graduate Representative for the national Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. She became a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas in 1999 and worked with individuals, couples, and children. She has also worked with children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder providing neurofeedback, and has published several articles and books in the areas of diversity and basic counseling skills.

Peter Chiu, Board Member

Dr. Peter Chiu, Public Member
Dr. Chiu was appointed by Governor Brown as a public member in October 2013.  He has been an adjunct clinical professor at Stanford University Medical School since 2009 and Hearing Board member of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District since 2013.  He was a member of the US Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management for environmental protection from 1994 to 1997, an Occupational Medicine Department and Emergency Department physician at Kaiser Milpitas/Santa Clara from 1990 to 2012, a practicing family physician in San Jose from 1986 to 1990, and resident physician and chief of resident physicians at San Jose Hospital from 1983 to 1986.  He also served as principal environmental engineer for the Association of Bay Area Governments from 1976 to 1979 and associate water quality management engineer at the Bay Area Sewage Services Agency from 1974 to 1976. He earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Stanford University, Doctor of Public Health degree in Environment Health and a Master of Public Health degree in Occupational Health from the University of California, Berkeley.

Picture of Board Member Betty Connolly

Elizabeth “Betty” Connolly, LEP Member
Ms. Connolly was appointed by Governor Brown as a LEP member in August 2012. Ms. Connolly has been with the El Dorado County Office of Education for over 30 years, first as a School Psychologist and later as a Program Specialist and Principal. She currently works as the Director of Student Programs for Special Services. Betty is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and has done extensive training throughout the State in behavior and autism. Betty is a past president of the California Association of School Psychologists and was appointed to the Board in August, 2012.

Picture of Board Member Massimiliano “Max” Disposti

Massimiliano "Max" Disposti, Public Member
Mr. Disposti was appointed by the California State Assembly as a public member in April 2016. He was born in Italy in 1968 and lived in Rome for 30 years. After college, he pursued his volunteer aspirations by working with different human rights non-profit organizations. Upon arriving in the United States in 1998, and after moving to Southern California in 2001, he soon began volunteering his time with local agencies where he noticed the need for a stronger North San Diego County LGBTQ community. In January 2008, he founded the North County LGBT Coalition, a non-profit organization that almost immediately increased LGBT visibility in the North San Diego community. After 4 years of hard work, an outpouring of community support, and with the help of a dedicated board of directors, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center was opened in 2011, where Max operates now as Executive Director. He is seasoned non-profit executive in organizational oversight, marketing/communications, development/fundraising, event planning, outreach, membership building and campaigns. Max’s provides ongoing coaching, board governance, training on LGBTQ competency and support for others on the team through the continue sharing of his knowledge, and experience.

Picture of Board Member Sarita Kohli

Sarita Kohli, LMFT Member
Ms. Kohli was appointed by Governor Brown in June 2011 as an LMFT member. Ms. Kohli has been working in community mental health for over twelve years. Currently, she serves as Director of Mental Health Programs at Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) in San Jose, overseeing outpatient Mental Health programs and the Center for Survivors of Torture. Ms. Kohli is in the Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program of the National Council of Community Behavioral Health, a national leadership program for developing leaders from ethnically diverse communities. Previously, Ms. Kohli was on the Board of West Valley Community Services, a community services organization providing basic needs, family support and housing services. She serves on the Santa Clara County Social Services Advisory Commission and has been on the Executive Committee for the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs. Ms. Kohli is a passionate advocate for mental health and social services for underserved populations.

Picture of Board Member Renee Lonner

Renee Lonner, LCSW Member
Ms. Lonner was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger as a LCSW member in January 2007. From 1992-2008, she served as the clinical director and chief clinical officer for Robert T. Dorris & Associates, a management consultation firm. Ms. Lonner has maintained a private practice specializing in individual, marital and family psychotherapy since 1976. From 1999-2001, she served as President of the California Society for Clinical Social Work. Ms. Lonner is a member of the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work and the National Association of Social Workers.

Picture of Board Member Karen Pines

Karen Pines, LMFT Member
Ms. Pines was appointed by Governor Brown as a LMFT member in April 2011. She previously served as a member of the Board of Behavioral Sciences from July 24, 1999 to July 31, 2006. During her tenure with the Board, she served three terms as the Board's Chair and one term as the Board's Vice Chair. In addition to her previous Board service, Ms. Pines has also served as public member for the Physical Therapy Board and is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Ohio University, with a minor in Education, and her Master of Education and Psychology from California State University, Northridge. Ms. Pines holds numerous certifications and has participated in various trainings including, but not limited to, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Certification, Critical Incident Debriefing Specialist Certification and Pain Management Training.

Picture of Board Member Christine Wietlisbach

Dr. Christine Wietlisbach, Public Member
Dr. Wietlisbach was appointed by the California State Senate as a public member in January 2010. Dr. Wietlisbach has over 20 years experience in the health and higher education fields. She is a practicing occupational therapist at Eisenhower Medical Center, and a faculty member at Loma Linda University. In April 2011, she was granted her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree with a dual emphasis in Hand Therapy and Administration/Practice Management. She also has a master's degree in Public Administration. Dr. Wietlisbach is past-president of the Occupational Therapy Association of California, and recently completed two terms as a governor-appointee to the California Board of Occupational Therapy. She is a nationally-known speaker and author. Dr. Wietlisbach resides in the Palm Springs area.

Christine Wong Board member

Christina Wong, LCSW Member
Ms. Wong was appointed by Governor Brown as a LCSW member in May 2011. Since 2002, Ms. Wong has been employed by Glenn County Health Services and currently serves as Health Services Program Coordinator. She was formerly the Senior Mental Health Counselor for the Children’s System of Care Program. Ms. Wong is also a Mental Health Clinician for Butte County Probation Department’s Minor Adjustment Program, providing family counseling to the incarcerated minors in juvenile hall and upon release in the community since 2008. Ms. Wong is the Field Instructor for California State University, Chico, School of Social Work and previously served as the Dean of Student Affairs for Hong Kong Shue Yan College from 1993-1997. Ms. Wong received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Hull, United Kingdom. She volunteers as Region D Director of the National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter.