About Us | Our Staff

Rusty Selix, JD
Executive Director

Rusty has been Executive Director and Legislative Advocate for CCCMHA since 1987 and has grown the association considerably during the intervening years.  In this capacity, he partnered with Senate President Pro tem Darrell Steinberg to co-author California’s Mental Health Services Act, a tax on personal incomes over $1 million to expand community mental health care.  In addition he has been instrumental in moving forward a variety of critical mental health-related initiatives, including ensuring the implementation of the federal Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program to serve children with severe emotional disturbances.

Rusty has been a legislative advocate in Sacramento since 1978 when he joined the staff of the League of California Cities.  He also serves as Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in California and provides legislative advocacy for the (Los Angeles) Association of Retired Teachers.

Prior to becoming a lobbyist, Rusty served as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Sacramento where he was the city's principal legal advisor on land use and environmental issues.  From 1980 to 1984 he was also a member and chairman of the State Bar's Committee on Environmental Law.

Rusty attended Northwestern University where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Economics; he received his law degree from UC Davis.


Michele Peterson, MPH
Association Director

Michele Peterson, MPH, is the Associate Director at the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies (CCCMHA). She joined the CCCMHA in 2010. Her current scope of work includes, administering  the association through development and execution of an annual program to advance the association objectives which are defined through an annual work plan developed with the Board of Directors and nine committees under her direction. Her research is focused on health care reform and looking at innovative ways to integrate mental health into health care systems. She is a liaison for the analysis and advocacy of California’s mental health public policy and regulations, by assembling information from CCCMHA members, county and state officials,  and closely collaborating with the Executive Director Rusty Selix esq.. This information is then disseminated through communications and programs for the education and technical assistance of community mental health executives, which Michele also manages.

Prior to CCCMHA, Michele was the associate director of community health programs at the Center for Health Improvement (CHI). She was responsible for two initiatives on health care quality, and health policy – reform. Michele came to CHI as program manager for the Learning Network for Chartered Value Exchanges (CVE) program. This program was funded by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) as one component of the "Value-Driven Health Care Initiative," launched in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This Learning Network brings together 24 regional health improvement collaboratives from across the country, involving more than 550 health care leaders and representing more than 124 million lives. Participants in the CVEs comprise a rich and diverse group that spans purchasers, consumer organizations, health plans, and providers.

Prior to returning to her home state of California in 2007, she had been an integral part of grassroots public health programs. Her career path included work with non-profits and large humanitarian organizations. Highlights include private foundations, Americorps, Peace Corps, and the United Nations Population Fund. Her career attributes include a strong background in public health policy. Her professional expertise comes from more than 15 years of program management. Michele has a Master’s in Public Health from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Alice Toler
Program Manager

A Magna Cum Laude honors graduate in Government from California State University Sacramento, Alice's background is rooted in government affairs, regulatory policy, lobbying, human resources, project management and event production. As program manager, she will provide a variety of program management, administrative and clerical support to the association. She is also responsible for the conference planning and logistics for the production of triennial membership meetings. 

Lori Hanley
Membership Services Manager

Lori is currently serving as the Membership Services Manager. She has nearly a decade of experience working with nonprofits. Most recently she served as the Communications and Membership Manager for a Sacramento-based agriculture association. During her five-year tenure, she built the association’s communications strategy and membership retention program. Lori received a degree in journalism (minoring in political science and sociology) from San Jose State University. She is a member of the California Society of Association Executives and has served on the association’s communications and legislative committees.