Hagåtña, Guam – The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration announces new leadership in the following positions:

Theresa Arriola – Acting Director, Department of Public Health and Social Services
Theresa Arriola has served as the Director of the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center (GBHWC) since January 2019. Among her successes at GBHWC, Director Arriola worked to comply with the requirements of the 14-year federal receivership, which was vacated by the courts, saw the department through two successful CARF Re-Accreditations in 2021 & 2024, and re-opened the department’s 16-bed detox unit that had been closed for 17 years. Her work brought stability to staffing and overall operations through the hiring of their first full-time pharmacist, standing up the department’s billing office, establishing a first-ever student loan repayment program, and securing federal funding to build New Beginnings (Drug & Alcohol Branch), which is expected to open its doors in 2026.  In 2023, she received the  2023 Judiciary of Guam – Justicia Award. Prior to GBHWC, she served as the immediate past Executive Director of Sanctuary Inc. of Guam. 

Carissa Pangelinan – Acting Director, Behavioral Health and Wellness Center 

GBHWC Deputy Director Carissa Pangelinan will now serve as Acting Director of the agency. Carissa previously served as Acting Director of the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities (DISID). Prior to her appointment to the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration, she served in a range of roles, including Project Director roles at icareguam and Para Todu, Project Staff/Grant Writer for Na Metgot i Familia, Team Leader for AmeriCorps, and a Legislative Aide for then-senator Lou Leon Guerrero in the 27th and 28th Guam Legislatures. 

James Cooper-Nurse, Ph.D. – Deputy Director, Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center

Psychiatric Social Service Administrator Dr. James Cooper-Nurse has served GBHWC since 2022 and now takes on a new role as the agency’s Deputy Director. Prior to Guam, he served various roles in facilities throughout Washington State, including Youth, Family & Prevention Section Manager for King County Government Behavioral Health & Recovery Division, Program Manager for Family Engagement & Mental Health at Puget Sound Educational Service District, and Manager of Outpatient Initiatives and Therapist/Clincial Supervisor at Navos Mental Health.

Audrey Topasna – Deputy Director, Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities (DISID)
Audrey Topasna has worked in various agencies throughout the Government of Guam, including Program Director of the Federal Relief Programs at the Department of Administration, Planning and Development Administrator at the Guam Housing Corporation, Program Coordinator at GBHWC, Planner and Program Coordinator at the Guam Department of Education, and Employment Development Worker at the Agency for Human Resources Development. 

Judith Won Pat – Chief Advisor on Education

Judith Won Pat is a lifelong educator and public servant, having served nine terms in the Guam Legislature, five of which she was elected Speaker. She authored a range of initiatives, including laws authorizing the construction of public schools and facilities using innovative financing options, establishing charter schools, and ensuring the autonomy of the University of Guam and Guam Community College. Most recently, she served as the Interim Superintendent of the Guam Department of Education from February to June 2023. From 2018 to 2021, she was the Chief Executive and Academic Officer of Guahan Academy Charter School (GACS). 

“We extend a warm welcome to these skilled individuals and dedicated public servants as they step into new roles within our government. With their vast experience spanning decades, they will lead us in enhancing our healthcare systems in agencies that assist our most vulnerable populations and in supporting educational initiatives,” said Acting Governor Joshua Tenorio. 


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