Public Health Leader and Mental Health Activist Dr. Devika Bhushan, MD, to Serve as the Chief Medical Officer at Daybreak Health

SAN FRANCISCO (May 22, 2024) – Daybreak Health, the leading provider of school-based mental health services, announces the appointment of Dr. Devika Bhushan, MD, as its Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Bhushan is a pediatrician and recognized public health leader with expertise in health innovation, gender and health equity, trauma-informed systems, mental health, and stress and resilience. 

Previously, Dr. Bhushan served as California’s Acting Surgeon General (2022) and the office’s inaugural Chief Health Officer (2019-2022) and in these roles, was a key public health spokesperson and advisor to the California Governor. She also led policy and practice innovation at a statewide level through co-developing the $500 million ACEs Aware initiative, focused on healing from childhood trauma. 

In addition to her role at Daybreak, Dr. Bhushan serves on Stanford’s adjunct faculty and as a senior strategic advisor to entities ranging from non-profits focused on health and equity to a venture capital fund focused on mental health innovation. She also serves on the national Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s leading mental health advocacy organization, and the California Partners Project, co-founded by California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom to focus on gender equity and child well-being. 

Dr. Bhushan’s work and perspectives have been featured in peer-reviewed publications like The Lancet, Pediatrics, and JAMA, as well as in mainstream outlets like NBC, NPR, Slate, and The Los Angeles Times. Dr. Bhushan trained at Harvard Medical School (MD, Cum Laude) and Johns Hopkins (residency). She is a parent, an immigrant, and a first-generation Indian-American.

Dr. Bhushan is also an award-winning mental health spokesperson, known for first publicly sharing her journey with bipolar disorder while serving as California’s Acting Surgeon General to destigmatize living with mental illness and spread hope. She hosts the mental health podcast Spread the light with Dr Devika B, authors the well-being newsletter Ask Dr Devika B, and stars in the documentary BrainStorm (expected 2025). 

“We are honored that Dr. Bhushan’s extensive policy and clinical expertise will help to bring mental health support and greater equity to every child in need,” said Daybreak Health CEO Alex Alvarado. “Dr. Bhushan’s experience from the clinic to the boardroom to policy and advocacy will be essential to delivering on our mission of ensuring that every child has access to—and can benefit from—mental health support.” 

“I’ve applauded Daybreak’s innovative school-based approach and progress for years now. I’m thrilled to now be in a position to help us make optimal mental health a reality for each and every young person in the country — ultimately enabling them to reach their fullest potential,” said Dr. Bhushan. 

About Daybreak Health

Daybreak Health partners with 100+ K-12 districts across the country to provide mental health support to help students reach their full potential. Daybreak’s teletherapy and on-site programs are designed to give students and families equitable access to high-quality and culturally competent care to meet their unique needs—at no cost to families. Our evidence-based programs provide effective treatments that reduce crisis escalations, the need for tier 3 interventions, and chronic absenteeism. To learn more about Daybreak, visit

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