The Department of Behavioral Health Staff

Gilbert R. Gonzales

Director, The Department of Behavioral Health

Gilbert Gonzales has more than 30 years of experience in the field of substance abuse and mental health, crisis prevention and in treatment provision as a clinician, university faculty, project/program director and policy advisor. Throughout his career, he has led strategic planning, treatment and policy development, and training. He has also led systems to change initiatives that help mental health and substance abuse service providers promote collaboration and build service capacity in support of diverse populations.

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas Mr. Gonzales received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and his second Master's degree from Trinity University in Clinical Psychology. His first Master's Degree, a Masters in Public Service, was obtained from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He has been licensed in Texas as a Licensed Professional Counselor, and as a supervisor of Counselors by the Texas State Board of Professional Counselors. Mr. Gonzales was also licensed as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) by the Texas Certification Board of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors. He is certified as a Trauma Resolution Therapist and a Supervisor of Trauma Resolution Therapists and is also certified in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing.

Mr. Gonzales began as a Psychologist for Harris County MHMRA evaluating and providing treatment to jail inmates in a maximum-security setting. He then began program development and administrative leadership in various mental health and forensic settings throughout his career. He has been responsible for the development of program, policy, and implementation for community-wide jail diversion services for persons with mental illness who come in contact with law enforcement and for offenders with mental impairments within Bexar County and the City of San Antonio, Texas. As Director of Diversion Initiatives, the jail diversion programs developed have received the American Psychiatric Associations "Gold Award" for Program Innovation and the National "Program Service Excellence Award" from the National Council of Behavioral Healthcare. Additionally, Mr. Gonzales has contributed to many articles and has published "Out of Jail and Into Treatment", Behavioral Healthcare; August 2006, Vol 26, No. 8, pages 24-27. He is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reviewer for Jail Diversion and Specialty Courts programs at the national level and has provided evaluation and consultation in multiple administrative and clinical settings.

Mr. Gonzales has served as a member of the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Leadership Forum for Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Services, the National Stepping Up Initiative, the White House Data Justice Initiative and is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Counties (NACo) as well as serving as the Vice President of the National Association of Community Behavioral Health Disabilities Directors.

Prior to his professional career, Mr. Gonzales served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army (Bravo Company, 4/54th Infantry Division, Air Assault) and was honorably discharged with a commendation for having successfully streamlined policy and procedures for detained soldiers waiting for disposition in returning or leaving the army due to committed offenses.

Jessica Smarro, LCSW

Behavioral Health Manager, The Department of Behavioral Health

Jessica Smarro

Jessica Smarro is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who brings over a decade of clinical experience in mental health, substance use disorders, crisis intervention, and jail diversion. She earned her undergraduate degree in criminology at University of Northern Iowa and received her master’s in social work from California State University, Sacramento. Ms. Smarro has provided clinical services in a variety of settings including the Department of Psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente, in private practice, for children and families involved in child protective services, and to justice-involved adults. Additionally, she has provided crisis response services alongside law enforcement and assisted in developing and training first responders in de-escalation interventions for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

Ms. Smarro was the administrator for the Johnson County Jail Alternatives Program in Iowa City, IA for nearly 12 years. She has participated on various committees and boards with the focus of improving the service delivery system for individuals with behavioral health needs and complex psychosocial needs. Her experience in this area includes serving on the board of directors for the Iowa 6th Judicial District Department of Correction Services, the board of directors for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-Johnson County), and appointment to the advisory committee for the East Central Region mental health authority in eastern Iowa. She has also been involved in behavioral health strategic planning, consultation, and program development at the national level with the National Association of Counties, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Policy Research Associates.

Since coming to San Antonio, Ms. Smarro has served as the Director of Outpatient Services at San Antonio Behavioral Health Hospital and as a Clinic Administrator with The Center for Health Care Services.

Melissa D. Lucio, BA, LCDC
Senior Program Analyst, The Department of Behavioral Health

Melissa D. Lucio

Melissa D. Lucio joins the newly created Bexar County Mental Health Department as its Senior Program Analyst after more than 21 years with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Ms. Lucio has held various positions within the Adult and Juvenile Criminal Justice system and provides expertise in the areas of substance abuse treatment/services, contract compliance monitoring, quality assurance, and program development.

As a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor since 1991, Ms. Lucio has extensive clinical experience in direct client services providing treatment and referrals for youth & adults to include group counseling. Ms. Lucio has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and received a Certification as a Staff Trainer from the Sam Houston State University at Huntsville. Her background in behavioral health services is an asset to the Department’s ability to examine program effectiveness in an effort to best address the needs of Bexar County citizens.

Allen Castro, PhD

Substance Abuse Program Manager, The Department of Behavioral Health

Allen Castro Photo

A lifelong San Antonian, Dr. Allen Castro received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. Mary’s University; a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the LBJ School; and a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.  Since graduating from college, Dr. Castro has worked as a Budget and Performance Analyst with the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) where he was assigned to multi-billion dollar state agencies such as the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR), the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA), and the Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments.  Dr. Castro spent four years as the Assistant Director for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Department and as the Network Operations Administrator for the Center for Health Care Services, Bexar County’s local Mental Health Authority (MHA).

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Castro was recruited by Commissioners Court to focus on child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention.  Since then, Dr. Castro has raised millions of dollars for the Bexar County Children’s Court as well as developed and implemented numerous treatment courts and jail diversion initiatives within the County.  Dr. Castro has also focused on numerous victims services interventions such as the creation of the Family Justice Center – a one-stop service center devoted to victims of domestic violence as well as Project WATCH (What About The CHildren?) – a strategic plan for service delivery to children who witness domestic violence.  Dr. Castro served as the founding manager of the Bexar County Reentry Council – a think tank and working group devoted to individuals leaving incarceration and coming back into the community.   

As the founding Substance Abuse Program Manager, Dr. Castro is the lead staff person assigned to the Joint Opioid Taskforce.  He is also responsible for the creation of a system of care and jail diversion strategy for justice-involved substance abusers.  

Dr. Castro has served as a board member for the Mental Health Association of Texas (MHAT), the Texas Association of Drug Court Professionals (TADCP), and the Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments.  Dr. Castro has served as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).  He is a former Ford Foundation Fellow, the recipient of the San Antonio Business Journal’s “40 under 40: Rising Stars of San Antonio,” and the Doctoral Achievement Award from the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.  

Dr. Castro is currently on the board of Pay It Forward – Clean & Sober Living as well as the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee of the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG).  Dr. Castro is also the lead staff person assigned to the Hidalgo Foundation of Bexar County which focuses on public/private partnerships in the fields of literacy and child abuse and neglect.

Michelle Starr-Salazar
Mental Health Court Manager

Michelle Starr-Salazar

Michelle Starr-Salazar received her degree in Psychology with a minor in Social Work from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas in 1994. 

Michelle has been serving in the field of mental health since 1994. She was a Case Manager for the Center For Health Care Services from 1994 to 2008. She joined the Bexar County Mental Health Court team in 2008 as a MH Court Case Manager. Michelle has been the Mental Health Court Manager since 2010. 

As manager, she has expanded criteria to serve a broader population which includes co-occurring disorders and assault bodily injury cases. She implemented the use of the 10-key components and best practices. She and her team have developed partnerships with mental health and substance abuse providers. She is in collaboration with various County departments to develop a Felony Mental Health Pretrial Diversion Program.