Secretary Magarik Announces Leadership Changes at Department of Health and Social Services

NEW CASTLE (July 12, 2021) – Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Molly Magarik today announced leadership changes for the organization involving three divisions.

Magarik said the changes will help DHSS begin to embrace the goals outlined in the agency’s draft Strategic Plan, “Achieving the Vision: Person-Centered Health and Human Services in Delaware,” of modernizing the infrastructure and delivery of health and social services in order to help Delawareans live their best lives possible.

The changes:

Tom Hall, who has served as Acting Director of the Division of Social Services since April 2021, has been named Division Director, effective July 12. Hall joined DSS in 2006 as a Social Services Administrator, with policy oversight of the TANF, refugee assistance, emergency assistance and general assistance programs. He was promoted to Social Services Chief Administrator in March 2014 and became Deputy Director in 2015. Before coming to DHSS, Hall spent 18 years in a variety of roles in the health care field in Delaware, serving as a counselor, social worker, clinical manager, director of outpatient operations and assistant executive director. As Acting Director and formerly as Deputy Director, Hall led the efforts – in concert with child care providers, other stakeholders and DHSS’ budget team – to complete a Child Care Market Rate Survey for the Division’s Purchase of Care subsidized child care program, which supports about 14,000 children and their families statewide. Based on that survey, which was completed in February 2021 – and with the support of the General Assembly and Governor Carney – those rates were raised as of July 1, 2021.

Marcella Spady, who has served as Acting Deputy Director since May 2021, has been named Deputy Division Director. She began her career with the Division of Social Services in 1994 as a Seasonal Social Worker Case Manager before promotions to a Merit Senior Social Worker Case Manager and then to a Social Services Social Worker Case Manager Supervisor.

In 2007, Spady was promoted to Social Service Administrator over the Customer Relations Unit and three months later became Senior Social Administrator for the Division of Social Services, Area 2. In 2014, she joined the Modernization Project as a subject matter expert and tester for the ASSIST Worker Web system and was part of the team that implemented the system in 2015. In January 2016, Spady was assigned to the DSS Program and Policy Unit as the SNAP Policy Administrator. Through that experience, Spady helped DHSS file a series of successful applications and waivers with the federal government for expanded food benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic that supported tens of thousands of Delaware families, including maximum emergency food benefits, the Pandemic-EBT program and, most recently, the summer Pandemic-EBT program.

Magarik said the experiences of Hall and Spady make them both well-positioned to advance the community-based work of Governor John Carney’s Family Services Cabinet Council.

Steven Costantino, who serves as DHSS’ Director of Health Care Reform in the Secretary’s Office, will serve as Acting Director for the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health beginning July 13 through the end of the month. Steven came to DHSS in May 2017 after serving as Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access and Medicaid Director. He previously served as Cabinet Secretary for Rhode Island’s Department of Human Services. In addition, he served as Executive Director of the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Association of Rhode Island for eight years.

Joanna Champney, who serves as Chief of Planning, Research & Reentry at the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC), will join the Department of Health and Social Services on Aug. 2 as Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. During her tenure at DOC, Champney established and led the Department’s new Office of Reentry following Governor Carney’s issuance of Executive Order 27 to improve prisoner reentry. As part of the Governor’s Executive Order, she served as a Commission member of the Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission (DCRC) and is currently Chairing the Commission’s Transition Team. Champney’s team expanded DOC’s use of evidence-based practices, including implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy programming for incarcerated people, improving probationer and inmate assessment strategies, and creating an evidence-based release planning system for staff to utilize with individuals preparing to leave prison custody. The Planning Unit also managed all research and data projects for the DOC as well as accreditation and compliance activities for DOC’s facilities.

Most recently, Champney oversaw implementation of several large federal grants that supported system improvement, program evaluation, and cognitive behavioral therapy and vocational training for incarcerated people. In partnership with the Bureau of Prisons, Champney also implemented compliance tracking processes for provision of clinical care to incarcerated people who have mental illness. She also was instrumental in the recent redesign of the DOC’s prison-based substance use disorder treatment program, Road to Recovery (R2R), which has now implemented modern, evidence-based set of curricula and has adopted a treatment track system to differentiate between levels of care.

Prior to joining state government, Joanna served as the Executive Director of the Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ), which serves a variety of justice-involved populations through direct services, advocacy and policy reform work. While at DCJ, she oversaw a combination of direct service programs and policy reform initiatives. Previously, she worked with a criminal defense law firm in Maryland and with a finance company in Delaware. She earned a Master’s Degree in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Delaware.

Finally, in the Division of Management Services (DMS)/Office of the Secretary (OSEC), Secretary Magarik announced these changes:

Michele Stant, formerly Deputy Director of the Division of Management Services (DMS), was named Chief of Staff for the Secretary’s Office. Her first day was July 5. She will oversee communications, constituent relations, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and special projects. Stant replaces Gabriela Kejner, who left to work for the Health Unit in the Department of Justice’s Civil Law Division. She will continue to work closely with some of DHSS’ divisions.

Alexis Bryan-Dorsey, who previously served as Chief of Administration for the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance (DMMA) since 2017, has been named Deputy Director for the Division of Management Service in the Office of the Secretary. She began her new role on July 5. Bryan-Dorsey will oversee the Financial Management, Contracts Management and Procurement and Quality Control units in DMS/OSEC. She reports to Dava Newnam, Associate Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer for DHSS.

Rebecca Reichardt, who has been Chief of Administration in the Office of Management and Budget since 2018, will join DHSS on July 18 as Deputy Director for the Division of Management Services. She has previously supported DHSS in a variety of roles with the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD), the Division of Public Health (DPH) and the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS). Reichardt will oversee the Budget & Revenue Management, Grants Management and Audit & Recovery Management units in DMS/OSEC. She will report to Dava Newnam, Associate Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer for DHSS.

“I am grateful to have all of these individuals in these critical positions,” Magarik said. “They each bring important experiences to these roles, they have helped DHSS and other state agencies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, they know how to reach out to employees, clients, providers, and other community partners, and they are committed to innovating and doing the hard work of strategic planning.”

The Department of Health and Social Services, with about 3,500 employees, is responsible for meeting the health and social service needs of Delawareans by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency and protecting vulnerable populations.