UCLA Launches Behavioral Health Center of Excellence

On Thursday, October 14, 2014, UCLA launched its Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at the Semel Institute.  Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg was honored for his work in the legislature toward making Behavioral Health Centers of Excellence possible.  The launch was made official when Senator Steinberg had the honor of cutting the ribbon that symbolized the center’s opening.  Recently, Senator Steinberg presented a plan to members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden for mental health services to be implemented nationwide.  Prior to UCLA’s launch of the center, UC Davis launched its Behavioral Health Center of Excellence on October 1, 2014.


The Behavioral Health Centers of Excellence were initially authorized by Governor Brown with $15 million of funding from the Mental Health Services Act.  At UCLA, the center will have a 3-year start-up period at the Semel Institute.  The program is designed to enhance the Mental Health Services Act by executing rapid sharing of innovative research in California, as well as evidence based practices already tested in the University of California.

“The UCLA Semel Institute’s program will provide research, communication, education and outreach programs that address mental health disparity through innovations developed at UCLA’s Center for Health Services and Society.” –  Dr. Peter C. Whybrow, Director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior 

Senator Steinberg, a Bruin Alumnus, also celebrated his last day as Senate President pro Tem at the ribbon cutting.

In attendance were Chancellor Gene Block, Assistant Vice Chancellor Keith Parker, Assembly member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Dr. Peter Whybrow, Dr. Cynthia Telles, Dr. Ken Wells, Vice Dean for Education Clarence Braddock and UCLA medical faculty, students and residents.

(Photo: Left to Right – Fred Meyers, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Cynthia Telles, Senator Steinberg, Marv Southard, Loretta Jones, Richard Van Horn)

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