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DHS Announces the Hire of the Director of the Office of Health Equity

Today, Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced the hiring of Dr. Michelle Robinson as the Director of the newly formed Office of Health Equity. The Office of Health Equity and its dedicated team is attached to the Office of the Secretary and will lead work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the department while also coordinating the development and implementation of policies and programs to address root causes of health inequities.

“Our priority is and always has been to build a state that works for everyone—and the DHS Office of Health Equity is critical to achieving that,” said Gov. Evers. “Dr. Michelle Robinson is a great choice to lead the department’s efforts to improve health and well-being for all Wisconsinites.”

Dr. Robinson currently serves as the Director of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Equity and Systems Change Research and Policy Officer (ESCRPO) at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF). As Director of the OIG, she leads an internal review team providing independent, objective assurance and consulting services to the agency, and as the ESCRPO she provides strategic leadership and direction on internal and external equity and health equity initiatives. In addition to her work with DCF, Dr. Robinson brings a wealth of expertise in the field of health equity and systems changes including from her work as Vice-Chair for the Governor’s Health Equity Council (GHEC) and as a member of the Race to Equity Project at Kids Forward. She will begin her new role with the Office of Health Equity on October 25.

“Dr. Robinson is bringing more than just her lifetime of experience, strategic leadership, and community engagement to the office. She also brings her passion for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and an unwavering belief that all people should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life—which is central to the mission of the Office of Health Equity,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “We are very fortunate to have her join our team at DHS. I know she will be instrumental in serving the people of our state as we work together to ensure that DHS’s programs, policies, and practices support good health for all.”

The Director of the Office of Health Equity is responsible for providing strategic and programmatic leadership for health initiatives, including breaking down barriers and infusing equity into DHS programs and outreach efforts. This new office also includes the Minority Health Program, providing statewide leadership for policy measures that aim to improve the health of historically marginalized populations in Wisconsin and assures coordination of efforts intended to reduce health disparities.

“I would like to thank Governor Evers and Secretary-designee Timberlake, as well as all of those, past and present, working to achieve justice and advance health equity throughout our state. As the new director, I fully commit to serving our state, and strive to make Wisconsin a place where your zip code, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, religion, physical and mental ability, or education does not determine your ability to be safe, healthy, and thriving.,” said Dr. Michelle Robinson. “By transforming systems and institutions to serve those who are most impacted by bad policy or governance, we are investing in the health, and well-being of everyone. The work we are doing is going to propel Wisconsin forward and produce meaningful, actionable results.