Delaware health department announces leadership changes

Delaware State News
Posted 6/23/22

Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik announced five leadership changes for the agency Thursday.

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Delaware health department announces leadership changes

Posted

Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik announced five leadership changes for the agency Thursday.

Dava Newnam, who last served as associate deputy cabinet secretary and chief operating officer, has been named deputy cabinet secretary for special populations, strategic planning and innovation.

Ms. Newnam has served in various roles in the department for 27 years. In her latest position, she had responsibility for managing a $3 billion budget and 3,500 employees.

During her tenure, she led business operations, including procurement, accounts payable, accounts receivable, grants administration and budget development, plus helped organize the first employee Leadership Academy.

“As a former director of both the Division of Services for Aging and Adults With Physical Disabilities and our Division of Management Services, I know she understands the evolving needs of Delaware’s seniors and adults with disabilities, and is strategic in prioritizing and maximizing the resources that DHSS receives on both the state and federal levels,” Ms. Magarik said.

Ms. Newnam is replacing Sarah Noonan Davis, who served in the role since February 2021, overseeing the divisions of Services for Aging and Adults With Physical Disabilities, Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities Services and Visually Impaired, as well as the Stockley Center, the Delaware Psychiatric Center and the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill.

Carla Mitchell-Penny, human resources director for the department, has been named chief of staff in the Office of the Secretary, where she will work with team members to prioritize strategies and goals, ensure the cohesive movement of objectives and standardize daily operations.

Ms. Mitchell-Penny replaces Michele Stant, who will become chief of financial management in the Division of Medicaid & Medical Assistance.

Ms. Magarik also announced temporary changes at the Division of Public Health:

  • Dr. Rick Hong, who has served in various leadership roles for 15 years, has been named acting director of the division, effective July 1. Dr. Hong will lead during the search to replace the departing director, Dr. Karyl Rattay, who has managed Public Health for more than 13 years. Dr. Hong, who was the division’s medical director for much of the pandemic, is currently serving as medical director for the Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness Section.
  • Jamie Mack, who has worked in various positions during his 18 years with the division, has been named acting deputy director, as of July 1. After stints in the Healthy Homes, Lead Poisoning Prevention and Community Environmental Health programs, Mr. Mack joined the director’s office as the policy lead in 2015.
  • Steven Blessing, who has served as chief of the Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness Section for 10 years, has been named acting deputy director of the State Health Operations Center, effective July 1. Mr. Blessing has served in other leadership roles for 28 years, including emergency medical services director, paramedic administrator and executive assistant to the director of public health.

Mr. Mack and Mr. Blessing are replacing deputy director Crystal Webb, who is departing at the end of June after 13 years in the position.