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Department of Health Executive Leadership

Secretary of Health
Dr. Rachel Levine

Dr. Levine is currently the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders. She is also the President-Elect of ASTHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, with her term beginning on September 26, 2019.

Dr. Levine joined the Wolf administration in January 2015 as the Physician General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and served from 2015-2017. She was named Acting Secretary of Health in July 2017 and confirmed as Secretary of Health in March 2018.

Her previous posts included: Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

In addition to her recent posts Dr. Levine is also an accomplished regional and international speaker, and author on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBT medicine.

Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine.  She completed her training in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Executive Deputy Secretary
Sarah Boateng

Sarah Boateng is the Executive Deputy Secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Prior to serving in this role, Ms. Boateng served as the special assistant to the Physician General at the Department of Health and the Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Keystone. Ms. Boateng holds a master's degree in Healthcare Administration from the Colorado State University, and she is also a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the Robert Morris University.

Deputy Secretary, Administration for Shared Services
Carolyn Ellison

As part of the Shared Services Initiative to consolidate the Administrative and Budget functions of the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Aging and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Carolyn will oversee administrative functions for all departments. Carolyn has worked for the Department of Human Services the past five years as a project management consultant in the Secretary's Office through Computer Aid Inc. Prior to that, she served as a commonwealth employee for 10 years in both the Department of Health and the Pennsylvanian Liquor Control Board in various capacities.

Deputy Secretary, Health Innovation
Meghna Patel

Prior to this role, she was the director of the Department's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Office, where she launched and led the implementation of the PDMP system, allowing over 110,000 prescribers, dispensers and their delegates access to key prescription information so clinicians can make better decisions before prescribing opioids and other controlled substances. She directed the initiative to integrate PDMP system into the Electronic Health Record System and Pharmacy Management System of over 40,000 health care providers in Pa., which allowed clinicians to access the PDMP data seamlessly within a few seconds and improving their clinical workflows. She also directed the implementation of fatal and non-fatal drug-related overdose surveillance program in Pa. Additionally, she led the development of evidence-based opioid prescribing education modules which have been used to educate over 5,000 health care providers in Pa.

Before joining the Pennsylvania Department of Health, she worked for Geisinger Health System managing and leading the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases -- 10th Version) implementation for the entire health system. She earned her Master of Health Administration degree from University of Scranton. She is also trained in Lean Six Sigma from Villanova University with a strong background in program management, process improvement and strategic communications. She earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Statistics and Advanced Accounting from Gujarat University in India. In addition, Meghna and her PDMP team were the recipients of the Governor's Awards for Excellence in 2016 for building the state's PDMP from the ground up in less than five months.

Deputy Secretary, Health Preparedness and Community Protection
Raphael (Ray) Barishansky

Raphael M. Barishansky is the Deputy Secretary for Health Preparedness and Community Protection with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  As Deputy Secretary, he is responsible for monitoring, tracking, and analyzing the health status of Pennsylvania communities.  Mr. Barishansky currently oversees the management of the Bureaus of Emergency Medical Services, Public Health Preparedness, Community Health Systems, Laboratories, and Epidemiology.

Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Barishansky served as the Director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) for the Connecticut Department of Public Health.  Prior to that, he served as the Chief of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response for the Prince George's County (MD) Health Department from 2008 to 2012.

Mr. Barishansky holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Touro College, a Master of Public Health degree from New York Medical College and a Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies from Long Island University.  He is a graduate of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program held at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2006) and the Healthcare Leadership and Administrative Decision Making class held at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, AL (2009).  He has also earned a Certified Public Manager (CPM) certification through Arizona State University.

Mr. Barishansky has served as adjunct faculty at both New York Medical College and Yeshiva University and has been a guest lecturer at the George Washington University EMS degree program, the Philadelphia University Disaster Medicine and Management graduate degree program and the George Mason University Biodefense Graduate program.

Mr. Barishansky has authored over 300 articles in such publications as EMS Magazine, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS), EMS Insider, Domestic Preparedness Journal, the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Emergency Management Magazine, Public Safety Communications, and the Crisis Response Journal (UK).  He is a nationally known speaker and has made over 100 public presentations at various EMS and Public Health conferences.

Deputy Secretary, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Cindy Findley

Cindy 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.

Cindy 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, Cindy became the Bureau Director of Communicable Diseases, where she oversaw the Divisions of Immunizations, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Tuberculosis and HIV. Cindy 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

Prior to becoming Deputy Secretary for QA, Susan 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 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.

Director, Office of Communications
April Hutcheson

April Hutcheson is an experienced media relations expert with more than two decades of professional work in crisis communications and public relations, as well as experience helping non-profit organizations increase awareness to build member and donor bases.  She currently serves as the Director of Communications at the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

At the Department of Health, April oversees all external communications and serves as the communications lead for the Opioid Command Center. She has worked on high profile issues like the implementation of the medical marijuana program and serves as a department spokesperson.

April has served Pennsylvania governors Ridge, Schewiker, Rendell and Wolf in communications roles. She has also served in the private sector providing public relations, association management, strategic planning and organizational support for non-profit organizations, public relations firms and marketing companies nationally and internationally.

April is a recipient of a Pennsylvania Excellence in Technology Award for her work as part of the Opioid Data Dashboard Team.  She was named to the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal's Top 40 Under 40 list 2012. The International Association of Business Communicators also has recognized April for her work on the DEP 2000 Annual Report, and by the Religious Public Relations Council of America for crisis communications.

A Philadelphia native, April holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a Master's in Journalism from Temple University.  She also is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Director, Office of Legislative Affairs
Dave Toth

Dave 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, Dave 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, Dave 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 Policy
Kimberly Early

Kimberly serves as the director for the Office of Policy and is responsible for directing policy development activities for the department. Most recently, Kimberly served as the deputy director of the Office of Policy Development in the Department of Human Services.

She is a licensed social worker, receiving a bachelor's of science degree in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and a master's of Social Work at Temple University. She began her career in the mental health field before working in child welfare as a child protective services caseworker. In 2002, she joined the commonwealth as a human services program specialist in the Department of Human Services. She later worked for the Department of Health managing grants related to children's health, before returning to the Department of Human Services as a legislative specialist. Kimberly also served as a public health program manager in the Department of Health preparing for public health accreditation.

Fiscal Management Director, Office of the Budget, Shared Services for Health and Human Services
Ronni Burkhart

Ronni Burkhart is the Fiscal Management Director of the Shared Services for Health and Human Services Budget Office.  Although the Office sits in the Department of Human Services, the Office serves the Departments of Aging, Drug and Alcohol Program, Health, and Human Services.  These entities have a combined budget of over $41 billion.  Key functions of the office include:  development and monitoring of the Departments' budgets for all funding sources; assessing financial impact of programmatic changes; monitoring activity against approved budgets to ensure program viability; and, supporting the Departments by providing overall financial policy, including policy related to generating additional federal funds to support a wide range of program activities.  Ms. Burkhart joined the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2002 and has worked in various health and human services financial areas for her entire tenure at the Commonwealth.  Areas of specialization include healthcare and Medicaid programs, policy and financing.  Ms. Burkhart earned her B.S. in Accounting from Penn State University.

Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Meaghan Abbott

Meaghan serves as the new director for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, Meaghan is responsible for connecting the Department to constituency groups, associations, local governments and others in an effort to listen, learn and address maters that effect public health in the commonwealth.

Meaghan is a career non-profit leader who has helped organizations grow, reach larger audiences and support people in need. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work with a focus on community organizing and social administration.

Before joining the Department, Meaghan was the Operations and Community Engagement Manager at the Feel Your Boobies Foundation where she led breast health initiatives for women under mammogram age. Additionally, she has held development and programming roles at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Planned Parenthood and the Human Services Center Corporation. Meaghan is a native of central Pennsylvania and currently lives in the Harrisburg area with her husband and their hound dog Buster.

Director, Office of Operational Excellence
Brian Lentes

Brian Lentes, MPA is the new director for the Office of Operational Excellence.  The Office of Operational Excellence brings together key department-level plans and initiatives, including public health accreditation, health equity, the strategic plan, the state health assessment (SHA), the state health improvement plan (SHIP), and quality improvement and performance management functions. 

Prior to this role, Brian served as the director of the Bureau of Health Planning since December 2016, leading the Department's Public Health Accreditation, quality improvement and performance management strategy, State Health Assessment and State Health Improvement Plan, health professions workforce reports, and primary care programs to increase access to health care.

Before joining the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Brian held the position of Manager of Quality and Patient Safety Outcomes at Penn State Health in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He led the improvement of quality and patient safety for diverse clinical and business service lines found in 60+ ambulatory practice sites. Brian is trained in Lean Six Sigma by Cardinal Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. In addition to his role at Penn State Health, Brian has held transformative program management, consulting, health information technology, and policy roles in health care and government operations with Liberty Healthcare Corporation and the Pa. Department of Public Welfare, the Pa. Office of Administration, and the Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development.

Brian received his Bachelor of Arts from Albright College and his Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Penn State University, with a graduate certificate in public budgeting and financial management. He is a Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Community Health Team Fellow, where he authored a Southeast Pa. Community Health Needs Assessment Implementation Strategy. Brian also volunteers on the Board of Managers for the Harrisburg Area East Shore YMCA and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), where he is pursuing his Fellow distinction.