Dr. Mary Ann Jones is CEO of Westside Community Services, which provides culturally informed, family-centered behavioral health and human services to communities impacted by substance abuse, HIV, mental illness, violence and high incarceration rates. Westside was a pioneer in tracing illness and premature death among African Americans to oppressive living conditions, environmental toxicity, and poverty-related trauma—a view that has increasingly become mainstream. One of the longest-serving community mental health centers in the U.S., Westside has assembled a dedicated team of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, and psychologists who transform lives through in-home and on-site services. Through partnerships with San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and others, Westside is improving black infant health and reducing community violence.
With more than twenty years of experience as a clinician, clinical psychologist, grassroots program developer and senior administrator, Mary Ann is recognized as a visionary leader in community-based mental health and international program development for domestic violence prevention and intervention. A San Francisco native, she grew up in the Fillmore District before training at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and receiving her Ph.D. from the Wright Institute. Mary Ann is a recipient of a Society for Neuroscience Fellowship at the Howard University College of Medicine; a former Vice-Chair of the Governor’s Task Force of Domestic Violence in Florida; and an international violence prevention advisor to Sudan, Nigeria, and the Ministry of Social Development, Community & Gender Affairs for three Caribbean islands.
Mary Ann has been Westside’s fearless leader through tough financial times. After eight years with few breaks, she’s looking forward to resting, reading, and travelling during her sabbatical, taking time to focus on her own well-being after giving so much to help others reclaim lives, restore families and revive communities.
“It’s a thrilling opportunity to recharge and get the perspective I need to stay relevant,” she says, “while also allowing my strong executive leadership team at Westside to take the reins.” Upon her return, Mary Ann plans to expand Westside’s reach through restorative justice and human trafficking prevention programs, and to nurture a growing pipeline of African American psychologists.