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Department of Health
Executive Leadership

Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General
Dr. Denise Johnson

Denise A. Johnson, M.D., FACOG, FACHE is the Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Commonwealth, Dr. Johnson was most recently Chief Medical Officer at Meadville Medical Center. Before joining then Meadville Medical Center leadership team in 2008, Dr. Johnson spent 13 years in private practice in Meadville.  She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She is a former commissioner of the Governor's Commission for Women.

Dr. Johnson has been involved in various community and regional groups focusing on diversity and inclusion and on the needs of women. She is the former board chair of the Meadville Area Free Clinic and is past chair of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology from Boston University, Medical Degree at Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Executive Deputy Secretary
Pete Blank

Pete Blank is the Executive Deputy Secretary. Mr. Blank most recently served as Policy Director at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Prior to this role, he worked as an Executive Policy Specialist within the Office of Policy since 2018. Before joining the Department, Mr. Blank held various roles in non-profits supporting early childhood education programs in Colorado and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Peru focusing on environmental and public health issues. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Miami University (Ohio) and a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.


Deputy Secretary for Administration
Debbie Smith

Debbie Smith is the Deputy Secretary for Administration. Ms. Smith most recently worked as a contractor with the Department of Health for the past few years. Prior to this role, she served 35 years with the Commonwealth which culminated with her appointment as Deputy Secretary for Administration with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). She played an instrumental role in creating the Commonwealth's first Human Resource Service Center at DMVA. Her fiscal management experience began in the Department of Health, where much of her professional growth occurred over the course of twenty years.

Deputy Secretary of Health Resources and Services & Chief Business Analytics Officer
Muneeza Iqbal

Muneeza Iqbal is the Deputy Secretary of Health Resources and Services, as well as Chief Business Analytics Officer at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Ms. Iqbal oversees the Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries, the Office of Drug Surveillance and Misuse Prevention, the Health Research Office, the Primary Care Office, and the data modernization initiative. Prior to serving in this role, she was the executive advisor for Health Resources and Services, and played an instrumental role in getting the department's data modernization initiative off the ground.

Ms. Iqbal has a background in public health, healthcare policy, and journalism. Previously, she worked as a consultant with Deloitte, with a focus on improving the structure and policy of the commonwealth's non-emergency medical transportation program. Prior to that, she created a public health curriculum for medical students and raised awareness on racial biases and inequities in medical education and the healthcare industry. Her previous work in global health sparked an interest in tackling barriers to healthcare access. Ms. Iqbal has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Journalism from New York University, and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University.

Deputy Secretary, Health Preparedness and Community Protection
Dr. Wendy Braund

Dr. Wendy E. Braund is the Deputy Secretary of Health Preparedness and Community Protection (HPCP) at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Previously she served as the COVID-19 Response Director and will continue to lead that work within HPCP. Before joining the Department, Dr. Braund was the Director of the Center for Public Health Practice, Associate Dean for Practice, and a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Before her time in academia, she served as the Wyoming State Health Officer and Public Health Division Administrator for the Wyoming Department of Health. Before working at the state level, Dr. Braund was employed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, first in the Office of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and then at the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions.

Dr. Braund’s degrees include a BA from Duke University, MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and MD from the Penn State College of Medicine. She is a 2007 graduate of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Preventive Medicine Residency Program and is board certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.

Deputy Secretary, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Cindy Findley

Cindy Findley is the Deputy Secretary, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Ms. Findley has been with the Pennsylvania Department of Health since 2000, and began her public health career as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Health Planning and Assessment where she was involved with the Bureaus of Community Health Systems, Health Planning, Laboratory, Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Medical Services. In this role, she worked closely with program staff and helped determine their policy needs and assisted with various procedures.

Ms. Findley then became a program administrator with the Special Kids Network in the Bureau of Family Health. From there, she was promoted to the program manager in the Division of Immunizations Vaccines for Children program, and then to the Division Director for Immunizations.

In 2017, Ms. Findley became the Bureau Director of Communicable Diseases, where she oversaw the Divisions of Immunizations, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Tuberculosis and HIV. Ms. Findley also served as the Acting Deputy Secretary this past year from April to July. Cindy has over 20 years of Social Work experience in the fields of long-term care and acute care hospital settings. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her Master's degree in Social Work from Temple University of Pennsylvania.

Deputy Secretary, Quality Assurance
Susan Coble

Susan Coble is the Deputy Secretary of Quality Assurance at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Prior to becoming Deputy Secretary for QA, Ms. Coble was the Director for the Bureau of Community Program Licensure and Certification, where she managed various programs including home health, intermediate care, tanning and the drug devices and cosmetic act. Susan has a robust background in nursing, with over 25 years of experience working in nursing homes. She also worked at Penn State Hershey for 10 years where she directed operations for the department of medicine and managed National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.

Chief Counsel
Yvette Kostelac

Yvette Kostelac is the Chief Counsel at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Ms. Kostelac has been an attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Health since 1990.  During her tenure with the Department of Health, she has acted as counsel to several of the Department’s regulatory programs and nearly each one of the Department’s public health bureaus. She was appointed Deputy Chief Counsel in 2015 and continued in that position until her appointment as Chief Counsel.

Chief Financial Officer
Andrea Race

Andrea Race is the Chief Financial Officer at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Most recently, Ms. Race served as Assistant Fiscal Management Director for the Office of Budget at the Department of Human Services (DHS). She also served as a special advisor to the Budget Director and CFO for the Children's Health Insurance Program at DHS. Prior to transitioning to state government, Ms. Race provided fiscal leadership to local non-profits, including serving as CFO for Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children and as Fiscal Manager for Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania. Ms. Race holds a degree in Accounting from Rutgers University and is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

Director, Office of Communications
Barry Ciccocioppo

Barry Ciccocioppo is the Director of Communications at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Mr. Ciccocioppo has an extensive range of communications and media relations experience in the private and public sector where he served in the executive and legislative branches and, most recently, as communications director for the Department of the Auditor General. He completed the Management Development Institute at the Department of Labor & Industry where he led the communications team. Mr. Ciccocioppo earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Shippensburg University. He is a graduate of the U.S. military's Defense Information School and served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Director, Office of Legislative Affairs
Dave Toth

Dave Toth is the Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Mr. Toth has over a decade of public service beginning in 2006 working as a Legislative Assistant and Chief of Staff to three state Representatives in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2015, Mr. Toth joined the Department of Human Services as a Legislative Specialist, focusing on the Office of Long-Term Living and Office of Developmental Programs. In 2017, Mr. Toth was named Legislative Director for the Department of Aging and in March of 2019 his role expanded to Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs.

Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Faith Haeussler


Director, Office of Policy
Lori Gutierrez

Lori Gutierrez is the Director of the Policy Office at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Ms. Gutierrez brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role. She has been with the Department since 2004 and served in a variety of positions within the Bureau of Community Health Systems and the Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response. Ms. Gutierrez joined the policy office in 2015 where, most recently, she served as the deputy policy director and coordinated the update to the Department's hospital and long term care facility regulations. She is a 2010 graduate of the Commonwealth's Leadership Development Institute, and received her undergraduate (Public Policy) and graduate (Public Administration) degrees from Penn State University.

Director, Office of Operational Excellence
Emily Gibeau

Emily Gibeau is the Director for the Office of Operational Excellence (OpEx) at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Ms. Gibeau most recently held the position of the Director of Quality Improvement and Performance Management in OpEx. Prior to that role, she worked as a PHPA overseeing implementation of Lean and performance management efforts in PADOH's Bureau of Health Planning since 2017. Before joining the PADOH, Ms. Gibeau had previous positions as a program coordinator at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for the adult vaccine program, at the Temple University School of Medicine's Clinical Research Institute as a field worker implementing a community health needs assessment and concurrent epidemiological study, and was the program coordinator and a site worker for Philadelphia's syringe access program. Ms. Gibeau holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the New School University and Parsons School of Design, and received her Master of Public Health from Temple University's College of Public Health in 2009.