Santiago’s primary responsibilities are to protect and promote the health of the population of all residents in Santa Clara County, California. He leads transformation efforts and manages the nearly $3 billion budget of the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System, the state’s second–largest public health care system. The health system employs more than 7,800 professional, technical, and support staff, serving close to 2 million county residents, and comprises a level I adult trauma center, a level II pediatric trauma center, a network of 11 comprehensive health centers, and an extensive network of community partnerships with federally qualified health centers and community clinics. It is the largest public agency in local county government, providing a full and comprehensive variety of direct services and programs for more than 300,000 adults and children through six major departments.
Before his experience in Santa Clara County, Santiago worked for nearly 10 years as general manager at the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. During the 1990s, he began his full-time public service at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services in charge of the five-year, $1.2 billion Section 1115 Medicaid waiver. He also served as a commissioner on the County’s Regional Planning Commission and the City’s Affordable Housing Commission in Los Angeles.
Santiago is current chair of the California Association of Public Health and Hospital Systems, an association representing all 21 federally recognized public hospitals across the state, directly advocating for national health reform and support for universal coverage. He holds master’s degrees in public health and urban planning from the University of California-Berkeley.