Social and Behavioral Health Data Scientist

Kate Cordell, PhD

Dr. Kate Cordell is a Social and Behavioral Health Data Scientist and Researcher. Dr. Cordell works to identify how individuals and families improve during care. She is especially interested in what works for whom. Every person and family have a story, often complex but also sewn with common thread. Dr. Cordell uses longitudinal analysis methods to model the changing patterns in these complex tapestries, hoping to identify the common elements of design.

Dr. Cordell integrates data systems to support a whole-person, success-focused approach to care, building solutions to put the person at the center. She converts information into visualizations to track progress for a person and their care team in ways that are meaningful at the point of care. She empowers real-time outcomes monitoring for programs and populations, identifying who is being served well and for whom additional services and supports are indicated. And, she unifies person-centered information across community agencies and provider networks to support joint care planning across a system of care. Dr. Cordell holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, an M.P.H. in Biometry from the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University and a Ph.D. from the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.
Integrated Human Services Group

Richard Knecht, M.S.

Richard Knecht has delivered program operations, leadership, strategic planning and training services to public and private healthcare and human service systems for nearly thirty years. He presently serves as a consultant to CDSS and its partners, providing guidance and cross-system statewide technical assistance toward shared management and service delivery processes for children and families. Richard is the former Chief Operating Officer at Olympus View Hospital. He served in Placer County for nearly a decade, directing its highly regarded children's system. He is past Chair of the Board of Directors at, and presently sits on the advisory board at the California Children’s Trust and OPEEKA, a unique software development company
Applied Research and Evaluation Specialist

Gregory Robinson, Ph.D.

As the former director of a university-based research center and Senior Research Associate with Children and Family Futures, as an SPI Associate and the Director of Applied Research and Evaluation at the Strategies Center California, Dr. Robinson has extensive experience assisting public sector and nonprofit organizations to articulate their information needs, transform them to research objectives, specify research designs, and select or develop measures appropriate to cultural-linguistic context of the region in which the project is developing. He is a skilled quantitative and qualitative analyst, producing reports in a variety of formats tailored to the information needs of multiple audiences from academics to practitioners to neighborhood residents.

An accomplished trainer and technical assistance provider, Dr. Robinson works with diverse populations and with agencies and organizations across the spectrum of technical sophistication. He served as primary quantitative analyst reporting to Congress on a 53-site HHS Children’s Bureau program evaluation and has directed numerous project evaluations at state and local levels. Greg has moderated over 200 focused group discussions and successfully completed over 140 applied research and evaluation projects. Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, U.C. Berkeley, Masters and Ph.D. in Social Ecology (a multi-disciplinary, applied social problems-focused program), U.C. Irvine.
Principal, Judi Sherman & Associates

Judi Sherman

Through facilitation, strategy building, and partnership development, Judi supports groups and organizations to advance their mission, enhance programs, develop policy, engage constituents, and build strong neighborhoods and communities. Her role with SPI involves contributing to research and publications, and curriculum design and development. Master’s Degree in Education; Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.

Rochelle Trochtenberg

Rochelle is a passionate advocate for social justice and has 15 years of experience engaging system-involved youth in policy setting and decision-making tables at local, state, and national venues. Rochelle is committed to working alongside marginalized people and communities to resist oppression and to create hopeful and creative ways of responding to hardship and suffering. Rochelle most recently served as the first former foster youth to be appointed as the California Foster Care Ombudsperson. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, camping, and reading.

For more about Rochelle, see this article:

Lianne A. Urada

Lianne A. Urada, PhD, MSW, LCSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at San Diego State University and of Global Public Health at UC San Diego. She is core faculty for the SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use. Dr. Urada has been a Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on several federally and privately funded grants and has over 35 peer reviewed publications.

Mark Varela

Mark Varela began his career in public service in Ventura County, California, in 1988 as a Deputy Probation Officer. He rose through the ranks of the Probation Agency becoming Chief Probation Officer in 2010. During his tenure as the agency’s leader, Chief Varela was instrumental in launching many successful juvenile justice and adult criminal justice initiatives and community rehabilitative programs. Chief Varela served as Chair of Ventura County’s Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, Community Corrections Partnership, and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Steering Committee. He served as President of the Chief Probation Officers of California in 2015, and he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the California Board of State and Community Corrections.

Chief Varela retired from public service in January 2023 after 34 years of serving his community – the last 13 as Chief Probation Officer.

Judy Webber

Judy Webber is a licensed clinical social worker and served as Deputy Director for the Human Services Agency in Ventura County, overseeing the department of Children & Family Services for 19 years. Judy’s career spans over 35 years in both the public and private sectors of social services and health care. She has played a central role in the transformation of Children’s Services in California. She was a pioneer in the use of geo-mapping for SIP planning and strategic interventions, effectively used Lean Six Sigma process improvement strategies, and assured the rightful role of prevention in the spectrum of child and family services. She has been active within CWDA and across the state leading many committees and change efforts, promoting structures and practices that will best insure positive outcomes for children and families. Notable was her involvement in the creation and development of the core practice model and her commitment to its implementation and use. Under her leadership, Ventura County solidified its position in bringing capacity to the field as an early adopter of significant child welfare reforms, including decrease use of congregate care prior to Continuum of Care Reform and a dramatic decrease in entries into care through prevention and family preservation efforts. Most notable was her ability to realize effective cross-system partnerships through AB 2083. She is the recipient of the CWDA Executive Leadership Award and most recently will be receiving the NASW Pioneer Award. Judy is passionate about bringing hope, help, and opportunity to children, families and marginalized communities.
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