Department of Health Executive Leadership
Acting Secretary of Health
Alison Beam is the Acting Secretary of Health for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Prior to serving in this role, Ms. Beam served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Tom Wolf, coordinating initiatives and resources across Pennsylvania's departments of Health, Human Services, Drug & Alcohol Programs, Aging and Insurance, as well as the Office of Advocacy and Reform. She helped coordinate the administration's COVID-19 pandemic response; the rollout of Pennie, Pennsylvania's health insurance marketplace; the Reach Out PA campaign; and the Wolf Administration's health care reform plan. Prior to transitioning to the Governor's Office, Beam served as Chief of Staff to the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner. She previously served as Director of Public Policy and Associate Counsel for Independence Health Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Ms. Beam graduated from Drexel University School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Policy and Administration from the Pennsylvania State University.
Interim Acting Physician General
Dr. Wendy Braund
Dr. Wendy Braund, MD, MPH, MSEd, FACPM, is the Interim Acting Physician General. Prior to serving in this role, Dr. Braund served as the COVID-19 Response Director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Previously, she 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. Prior to 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 has 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.
Executive Deputy Secretary
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
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 oversees administrative functions for all departments. Ms. Ellison 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 Resources and Services
Meghna Patel is the Deputy Secretary for Health Resources and Services at Pennsylvania Department of Health. In her current role, she oversees Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Health Research Office, Bureau of Managed Care, Rural Health Model, Primary Care Office and Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries at Pennsylvania Department of Health. Prior to this role, she was the Director of Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Office at Pennsylvania Department of Health where she launched the PDMP system, implemented fatal and non-fatal drug-related overdose surveillance program, led the development and implementation of Evidence-Based Opioid Prescribing Education and oversaw development of a Patient Advocacy Program. 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 from University of Scranton. She is also trained in Lean and Six Sigma from Villanova University with a strong background in program management, process improvement and strategic communications. She earned her Bachelor of Commerce in Business Statistics and Advanced Accounting from Gujarat University in India. In addition, Ms. Patel and her Pennsylvania 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 at 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, Emergency Preparedness and Response, 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 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 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.
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.
Director, Office of Communications
April Hutcheson is the Director of Communications at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Ms. 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.
At the Department of Health, Ms. Hutcheson 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.
Ms. Hutcheson 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.
Ms. Hutcheson 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, Ms. Hutcheson 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 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 Policy
Pete Blank is the 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.
Fiscal Management Director, Office of the Budget, Shared Services for Health and Human Services
Lori Stubbs 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.
Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Meaghan serves as the Director for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In this role, Ms. Abbott 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.
Ms. Abbott 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, Ms. Abbott 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, MPA is the Director for the Office of Operational Excellence at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 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, Mr. Lentes 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, Mr. Lentes 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. Mr. Lentes 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, Mr. Lentes 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.
Mr. Lentes 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.