The Governor of Justice appoints three secretaries for the new departments of Health, Human Services and Health Facilities

CHARLESTON, WV Governor Jim Justice announced today that he made three cabinet appointments to three new executive branch departments following the passage and signing of a bill to reorganize the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health – Dr. Sherri A. Young, DO, MBA, FAAFP

Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Human Services – Dr. Cynthia Persily

Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health Facilities – Michael Caruso

The Doctor. Jeffrey Coben, acting cabinet secretary for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, will continue to assist during the reorganization process. The Doctor. Clay Marsh and retired Major General James Hoyer will also continue to serve in advisory roles.

“We’ve made incredible progress on the DHHR and the achievements have been remarkable because we’re pulling the string together,” said Governor de Justiça. “As we reorganize DHHR into three departments, I am confident these Cabinet Secretaries will maintain the exceptional improvements we have made and continue to make us proud. There are so many positive things happening at DHHR and we want to keep improving things as we do. the transition to this new organizational structure. I’m sure our new cabinet secretaries will help us achieve that.”

2006 House Billpassed during the 2023 Legislative Session, reorganizes the current West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources into three separate departments, each overseen by its own cabinet-level secretary, effective January 1, 2024.

All three new secretaries will begin working with their respective departments in the coming months in preparation for the official transition on January 1, 2024.

The West Virginia Department of Health will include the Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Threat Preparedness Center, Health Authority, Office of the Inspector General and Commission on Human Rights.

The West Virginia Department of Human Services will include the Bureau of Behavioral Health, the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, the Bureau of Family Assistance, the Bureau of Medical Services, the Bureau of Social Services and the Office of Control Policy Drugs.

The West Virginia Department of Health Facilities will include Hopemont Hospital, Jackie Withrow Hospital, John Manchin Sr. Health Care Center, Lakin Hospital, Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, Welch Community Hospital and William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital.

The three cabinet secretaries will develop a memorandum of understanding to establish the Office of Shared Administration, which will provide shared services from centralized units such as finance, human resource management, managerial information services and constituent services.

Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health – Dr. Sherri A. Young, DO, MBA, FAAFP:
Dr. Sherri Young is currently the Associate Medical Director at Vandalia Health Network. Prior to Vandalia, she served as the Executive Director and Director of Health for the Kanawha-Charleston Department of Health. The health command team worked through the Kanawha-Charleston Department of Health (KCHD), in collaboration with the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority (KCEAA), Kanawha County Commission, West Virginia National Guard, City of Charleston, Charleston Fire Department and the Sheriff of Kanawha County. Department. The command team has been featured in TIME Magazine, The New York Times, Bloomberg Media, The Washington Post and STAT Media for their nationally renowned pandemic response.

In 2019 – 2020, Dr. Young served as president of the West Virginia State Medical Association, the state’s largest medical society. She is also past president of the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians and the Kanawha Medical Association. She currently serves as a board member for the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Foundation (WVSOM), YWCA of the Kanawha Valley, Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority (KCEAA), West Virginia Health Right and Regional Board for the American Cancer Society, for WV , Ohio and Kentucky.

She is the proud mother of her 15-year-old daughter Gabi. The Doctor. Young is the author of many peer-reviewed and opinion articles on issues of importance to public health and medicine. She has extensive experience with hundreds of professional education presentations, providing CME to her peers at the local, state, national and international levels. She has had numerous articles published in peer-reviewed medical journals and publications and served as an associate editor for the West Virginia Medical Journal for nearly 10 years.

Dr. Young received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2003. She then completed her Residency in Family Medicine at the Charleston Area Medical Center. The Doctor. Young is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Therapy and Audiology. In 2022, Dr. Young completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Brandeis University in Boston, Massachusetts.

West Virginia Department of Human Services Secretary – Dr. Cynthia Persily:
Cynthia Persily PhD is currently Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at the West Virginia Commission on Higher Education Policy. The Doctor. Persily oversees a variety of rural health programs as well as grant and fellowship initiatives in the health sciences, setting programmatic vision and expectations while advising program directors and participants. The Health Sciences division’s special programs focus on behavioral health, the nursing workforce, graduate medical education, rural health, primary care research networks, and vulnerable population needs. During the pandemic, Dr. Persily has provided guidance and support to all public and private colleges and universities in their COVID response efforts. In 2022-2023, as Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Persily led the Governor’s Nursing Workforce Expansion Initiative and the Governor’s EMS “Answer the Call” Initiative, working with the Governor, legislators, partners and stakeholders to expand these critical workforces to meet the needs of citizens from West Virginia.

The Career of Dr. Persily in West Virginia lasted 30 years of service to the state and citizens. She spent 20 years at West Virginia University, earning a tenured professorship in the School of Nursing, serving as Associate Dean of Graduate Practice Programs before her departure in 2013. While at WVU, Dr. rural health clinic for over 15 years providing antenatal care to rural women as a nurse and served as co-director of the HRSA-funded WV Rural Health Research Center. In 2013, Dr. Persily assumed the role of President and CEO of Highland Hospital and other affiliated Highland companies, providing strategic leadership to this behavioral health system for 7 years. Under her leadership, the system transitioned to Medicaid, managing inpatient and outpatient care, opening a residential psychiatric care facility for children, and expanding mental health services to meet demand. The research of Dr. Persily focused on vulnerable populations, rural health and health workforce issues. The Doctor. Persily held previous positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University in Philadelphia.

Dr. Persily holds a BSN from East Stroudsburg University, an MSN in Perinatal Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, a PhD in Nursing and Health and Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and a postgraduate certificate from West Virginia University as a Practicing Women’s Health Nurse . The Doctor. Persily is a proud alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows program, a national executive leadership program. She is also a graduate of Leadership America. Dr. Persily serves her community and her state through board membership of the Appalachian Red Cross, United Way of Central WV, and the WV Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Investigation. Dr. Persily resides in Charleston WV, with her husband Eric, an anesthesiologist, and is a proud mother of Alexandra, a recent University of Virginia medical school graduate, and Aaron, a strategic business analyst in Richmond, Virginia.

Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health Facilities, Michael Caruso:
Michael Caruso is a health consultant currently working at Orchard Park Hospital. Mike brings decades of experience in leadership roles at Spectrum Health Partners, Ohio Valley Health System, WVU Medicine and Wheeling Hospital. Mike and his wife Cheryl are lifelong residents of West Virginia and have three children.

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