Johanna Ferman

Johanna Ferman, M.D.

Integrus Health Group

Dr. Ferman is a Board certified psychiatrist whose work on integration has been nationally recognized for its innovation and sustainability over several decades. Her work has garnered Robert Woods Johnson grant support and the Gold Achievement Award of the American Psychiatric Association. She brings an unusual combination of experience and skill that encompass operational know-how, a deep understanding of regulatory and financing realities, and the elements needed to support and sustain integration, including quality assurance and the use of information to drive and continually improve practice. Widely credited with her ability to bring together diverse perspectives, she catalyzes team culture and practice through 'in situ' executive coaching and leadership development.


Appointed in 2009 to the newly created position of Director of Behavioral Health in Ambulatory Care for Contra Costa County’s extensive, FQHC-based ambulatory health system, she spear-headed the development of several innovative Pilots through her work with forward-looking staff. These Pilots address health disparities for populations in primary and specialty behavioral health settings.


Her early work at Rikers Island Jail in New York City catalyzed her conviction of the need for transforming systems of care, as she recognized the devastating impact of poorly conceived systems on often poor and vulnerable people. With movement into government policy, program evaluation and system development – initially in New York City, then as the Deputy Commissioner for Clinical Programs for the New York State Office of Mental Health, where together with a gifted staff, she built a new Division dedicated to the clinical transformation of the state’s public mental health system. Central to the Clinical Division’s function was the development and sustainability of innovation in the 33 hospital, 100,000 outpatient system. Integral to the Division’s operation were some of the earliest consumer and family councils, which in 1984 spearheaded the mentally ill chemical abuser (MICA) initiative and improved health services for people with serious mental illness. Later, as CEO and Medical Director of the Center for Mental Health in Washington, D.C., she developed “the Family Health Model,” an integrative approach designed to break the cycle of poverty and disability and the recipient of a Robert Woods Johnson grant and APA Gold Achievement Award. Her focus has been on the integration of mental health with health and addictions to best serve our communities, as well as the importance of the family and natural supports to achieve the quality, reduction in avoidable costs and consumer satisfaction that have at last become central to health reform and its Triple Aims. She has a special interest in the development of integrated data approaches to assure support and continual improvement of integration.


A member of the American College of Behavioral Health Leadership (formerly the American College of Mental Health Administrators, ACMHA), Dr. Ferman serves as a mentor in the College's mentorship program for emerging leaders in the field. She serves in an advisory capacity to Saffron Strand, a non-profit organization in Richmond, California, dedicated to bringing homeless individuals into the workforce through the use of intentional community, and as a Board member of the East Bay Community Recovery Project in Oakland, CA. A Fellow of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems 2010-2011, she was Project Coordinator in a NIATx/NACHC Learning Collaborative on integration of substance use services into primary care (2010-211). Recent public speaking has included Grand Rounds at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York and presentor at several workshops (including SAMHSA's 5th Annual HERR Conference (2012), and Saffron Strand's Annual Conference on Homelessness.


She received a B.Sc Honors in Physiology from University College of London University (England) and her Medical Degree from Wayne State University’s Medical School. She completed her psychiatric training at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center’s Westchester Division and undertook Fellowship training in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at Montefiore Hospital/Einstein Medical School in the Bronx. She has had faculty appointments at Einstein and George Washington Universities, teaching medical students as well as social work and psychology graduates in a variety of settings. She speaks widely on approaches to system reform and is currently engaged in writing on physical and behavioral integration. She is passionate in her enjoyment of collaborative engagement between the front-end and management levels, designing and implementing innovation with multi-disciplinary staff and stakeholders to assure the quality and sustainability of these efforts. Her commitment to this work is on behalf of transforming the life horizons of diverse populations through improved outcomes and overall reduction in cost.


Dr. Ferman resides in Contra Costa County in California. Fluent in Spanish, she is an avid reader, hiker and music lover – she recommends humor and kindness as antidotes for much of what ails us.