Marvin Southard, LCSW, DSW
Co-Founder and Partner
Dr. Marvin (Marv) Southard is the former Director of the largest county-run mental health services organization in the United States, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), with a budget approaching $3 billion, serving more than a quarter of a million persons annually that supports innovative co-located services within schools, courts, other County departments, and various community organizations.
In this role at LACDMH, Marv assembled a ground-breaking team that accomplished creative and inclusive work with communities including regional mental health urgent care centers, crisis response teams, children and older adult systems of care, Health Neighborhoods, and partnerships with faith communities to further social justice.
Marv has focused his career on empowering healthy urban and rural communities to improve recovery from mental health and substance use challenges. He served for a decade as a leader of community behavioral health services in East Los Angeles. Marv also founded substance abuse treatment centers, and served as a clinical director and leader of numerous organizations, as well as acting in another county government leadership role as the Kern County Director of Mental Health.
In his county government roles, Marv was the architect for ambitious and innovative new programs and partnerships such as establishing a community urgent care center for mental health and developing new models for neighborhood partnerships between mental health care service organizations and racial and ethnic communities to improve access and equity. He successfully navigated highly complex governmental and legal systems to establish funding sources, and deliver crucial services to diverse, underserved citizens at their point of need.
On leaving government service, Marv continued to serve communities, mental health organizations, and governmental entities as a consultant and Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California (USC), where he developed the Professional DSW degree program, mentoring the next generation of community service leaders.