Washington County Health and Human Services promotes two longtime staff to division manager roles
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Washington County Human Services has experienced rapid and substantial growth over the past several years, increasing from approximately 63 staff across Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities in 2013 to more than 130 staff at the start of 2020.
In July 2020, Washington County Human Services became two separate divisions: Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. While Developmental Disabilities and Behavioral Health are complementary and often coordinate care for the same clients, each division has unique needs and operates under different Oregon Administrative Rules. Now each division can benefit from focused attention by leadership and increased flexibility to meet program needs, thereby improving services to the community.
Washington County Health and Human Services recently completed recruitments for the two managers of these divisions.
Nick Ocón has been promoted to division manager of Washington County Behavioral Health. He had been serving in supervisory roles for the Human Services Division since 2013.
With almost 20 years’ experience in the behavioral health field, Ocón has served more than 11 years at Washington County Behavioral Health. He has provided care coordination to youth, families and adults; managed programs supporting youth and adults with both mental health and addictions needs; developed and managed provider contracts; and leveraged partnerships with behavioral health providers, coordinated care organizations and others to meet the needs of community members.
Ocón has a master’s degree in social work from The University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California Polytechnic University. He has held a clinical license in the state of Oregon since 2008.
“Washington County’s population continues to grow and is the most ethnically diverse in the state,” said Ocón. “We need to be able to support our provider network and community partners to meet the needs of our community members and find innovative ways to engage communities who have historically been underserved by behavioral health.”
The Behavioral Health Division encompasses mental health and addiction services and serves as the Community Mental Health Program. This includes maintaining a network of behavioral health supports for Washington County community members and partnering with local agencies to meet the behavioral health needs of our community.
Colin Fitzgerald has been promoted to division manager of Washington County Developmental Disabilities.
With more than 25 years’ experience in the developmental disabilities field, Fitzgerald has spent the last 19 years in various roles with Washington County Human Services. Since 2011, Fitzgerald has managed services coordination, abuse investigations, intake and eligibility, and administrative support teams within the division. Fitzgerald has been responsible for program oversight and ensuring compliance with Oregon Administrative Rules and state statutes, development and monitoring of the state contract, and supporting the local Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council.
Fitzgerald has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.
“The Developmental Disabilities Division strives to ensure individuals experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities have a voice in Washington County, and are receiving the necessary supports to live the life they choose to live,” said Fitzgerald. “I am excited to continue my work with a group of dedicated professionals who are committed to advocating for individual rights, timely service delivery and promoting inclusiveness in our community.”
The Developmental Disabilities Division provides services coordination to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Washington County. The division is also responsible for intake and eligibility, adult foster care licensing and child foster care certification, abuse investigations and protective services, crisis referrals and supporting a growing provider network.
“Both Colin and Nick were selected by the hiring committees for their exceptional experience in their respective fields, dedication to public service, and their commitment to moving the needle on our department’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” said Mjere Simantel, assistant director for Washington County Health and Human Services. “We are fortunate to have Colin and Nick in these key positions where they will serve as champions for their respective programs and ensure that our county, regional and state leadership are aware of the important work being done, as well as the continued funding needs and policy issues.”
For more information about Washington County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, visit www.co.washington.or.us/hhs.
Media Contact:Wendy Gordon, Department Communications Coordinator