CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Jim Justice announced today that he has 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 Parsley
Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health Services – Michael Caruso
Dr. Jeffrey Coben, Interim Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, will continue to assist during the reorganization process. Dr. Clay Marsh and retired Maj. Gen. James Hoyer will also continue to serve in advisory roles.
“We have made tremendous progress in DHHR and the achievements have been remarkable because we are pulling the rope together,” said Governor Justice. “As we reorganize DHHR into three departments, I am confident that these Cabinet Secretaries will maintain the tremendous improvements we have made and continue to make us proud. There are so many positive things happening at DHHR and we want to continue to do them things better as we move into this new organizational structure. I’m sure our new cabinet secretaries will help us achieve this.”
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.
The 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 Bureau of Public Health, the Office of Emergency Medical Services, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Center for Threat Preparedness, the Health Care Authority, the Office of the Inspector General and the Human Rights Commission.
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 Drug Control Policy.
The West Virginia Department of Health Services 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 create the Joint Administration Office, which will provide shared services from centralized units such as finance, human resource management, management information services and constituent services.
Secretary of the Department of Health in West Virginia – Dr. Sherri A. Young, DO, MBA, FAAFP:
Dr. Sherri Young is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the Vandalia Health Network. Prior to Vandalia, she served as the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s Executive Director and Health Officer. The health command team worked through the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD), in cooperation with the Kanawha County Emergency Authority (KCEAA), the Kanawha County Commission, the West Virginia National Guard, the City of Charleston, the Charleston Fire Department and the Sheriff of Kanawha County Dept. The command team has been featured in TIME magazine, the New York Times, Bloomberg Media, the Washington Post and STAT Media for its nationally acclaimed pandemic response.
In 2019-2020 Dr. Young served as President of the West Virginia State Medical Association, the largest medical society in the state. She is also Past President of the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians and the Kanawha Medical Association. Currently, she serves as a Board Member for the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) Foundation, Kanawha Valley YWCA, Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority (KCEAA), West Virginia Health Law and the Regional Cancer Board American Society, for WV, Ohio and Kentucky.
She is the proud mother of her 15-year-old daughter Gabi. Dr. Young is the author of many peer-reviewed articles and an opinion columnist on issues of importance to public health and medicine. She has extensive experience with hundreds of professional education presentations, providing CME to her colleagues at the local, state, national and international levels. She has had numerous articles published in peer-reviewed medical journals and publications and served as 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 Family Medicine Residency at Charleston Area Medical Center. Dr. Young graduated Summa Cum Laude from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology. In 2022, Dr. Young completed her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Brandeis University, in Boston, Massachusetts.
Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Human Services – Dr. Cynthia Persily:
Cynthia Persily PhD is currently the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Dr. Persily provides oversight for a variety of rural health programs, as well as health sciences grant and scholarship initiatives, setting programmatic vision and expectations while advising program directors and participants. Special programs under the Health Sciences division focus on behavioral health, the nursing workforce, graduate medical education, rural health, primary care research networks, and the needs of vulnerable populations. During the pandemic, Dr. Persily 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 workforce needs to meet the citizens of Virginia. Western.
The career of Dr. Persily in West Virginia has extended 30 years of service to the state and citizens. She spent 20 years at West Virginia University, eventually earning the rank of Professor in the School of Nursing, serving as Associate Dean of Graduate Practice Programs before her departure in 2013. While at WVU, Dr. Persily had a faculty internship at a rural health clinic for more than 15 years providing prenatal care to rural women as a nurse practitioner 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 related companies, providing strategic leadership for this behavioral health system for 7 years. Under her leadership, the system transitioned to Medicaid managed care for inpatient and outpatient services, opened a residential psychiatric treatment facility for children, and increased mental health services to meet demand. The research of Dr. Persily is focused on vulnerable populations, rural health and healthcare workforce issues. Dr. Persily previously held 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 post-graduate certificate from West Virginia University as a women’s health nurse. Practitioner. Dr. 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 state through her board memberships for the Appalachian Region of the Red Cross, the United Way of Central WV, and the WV Supreme Court Judicial Inquiry Commission. Dr. Persily resides in Charleston, WV, with her husband Eric, an anesthesiologist, and is the proud parent of Alexandra, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia medical school, and Aaron, a strategic business analyst in Richmond, Virginia.
West Virginia Department of Health Services Secretary Michael Caruso:
Michael Caruso is a healthcare consultant currently working with Orchard Park Hospital. Mike has 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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