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Randall Hagar -

A Career Dedicated to Mental Health Advocacy & Policy

  I am proud to have served as an advocate for sound mental health policy for more than twenty years. I was drawn to the arena of mental health for personal reasons, as the father of a young son with schizophrenia. I first became an active NAMI Volunteer and later served as NAMI California Legislative Director, family education trainer and board member. This grass roots experience led to a rewarding career as Director of Government Relations for the California Psychiatric Association where I participated in and led many important mental health policy campaigns.

   Over the years, I have learned how important education and communication are in the development of sound mental healthy policy. For those of us immersed in the everyday process of making and supporting positive policy and legislation, and, likewise, taking a strong stand against proposals that threaten the integrity and delivery of mental health care in California, collaboration among stake holders is paramount. As a participant in coalitions that include hospitals, physicians, advocacy groups and others, I am actively involved in creating successful strategies to accomplish our shared goals.

   I also recognize the importance of strong channels of communication with decision makers in government – from state departments that implement policies, to the office holders who originate those policies. Effective and trusted relationships in these realms take many years to develop.

   Now, as the principal of EmpiriCal, I leverage those years of experience and relationships built on performance, to further the shared goals of organizations and individuals seeking to create and maintain effective mental health policy in California.

Having a leadership role in many of the state’s mental health initiatives has been a highlight of my professional life. Here is an abbreviated list of key legislative actions:


  • Member of Steering Committee for Prop 63, The Mental Health Services Act.

  • Securing passage for California's Mental Health Insurance Parity legislation.

  • Co-drafting and securing passage of  Laura's Law.

  • Co-writing and securing passage of AB 1424 which mandates consideration of family input and medical history in all involuntary commitment proceedings. 

  • Drafting and advocating for reauthorization of  Laura’s Law legislation.

  • Spearheaded Parity Enforcement efforts

  • Played a central role in the development of a Physician Health Plan bill promoted by a coalition of medical societies and hospitals. 

  • Legislation to provide a pathway for Inmate Medications.

  • Correcting the Interpretation of the 5150 Dangerous Standard.

  • Successful effort to get NETFLIX advisory warning on video glorifying teen suicide.

  • Successfully advocating for confidentiality of Psychotherapy records.

  • Advocating for new medical school training programs throughout California.

  • Violent Video bill (all the way to the US Supreme Ct) to give families control over their minor children’s video purchasing ability. 

  • Clarification of MHSA funding for Laura’s Law and Assisted Outpatient Treatment.


Professional Affiliations

Board Member, Treatment Advocacy Center (2019 to present) / Board Member, Proxy Parent Foundation (2012 to present) / Founding Board Member, California Public Protection and Physician Health Inc (2010-2016) / Special Consultant, Avi Foundation (2009 to present) / Board Member, Roy W Smith Foundation (2008 to present) / Jail Liaison, NAMI Sacramento (2000 to present)


  • California Psychiatric Association Family Advocate Award 

  • NAMI California Award Advocacy Award 

  • CPA Ed Rudin Award 

  • CPA and APA Warren Williams Award 

  • Torrey Advocacy Commendation, Treatment Advocacy Center

  • Bronze Leaf on the NAMI California Tree of Advocacy 

  • Northern California Psychiatric Society Geri Taylor Award

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