DHSS’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to Host Free Monthly Naloxone Training Sessions Statewide

NEW CASTLE (March 3, 2022) – The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) is hosting free monthly Naloxone Access Training for all members of the community. All trainings can be found here: http://delaware-dsamh.eventbrite.com

Naloxone, known commonly by the brand-name Narcan, is a medication that is effective in reversing the effects of an opioid overdose in an individual. This is a free training and is open to the public. Participants will learn how to recognize and appropriately respond to an opioid overdose and are eligible to receive an Opioid Rescue Kit at the conclusion of their training. For more information, questions, or to schedule a group training, please email Narcan.train@delaware.gov or call 302-255-2777.

“Naloxone saves lives,” said DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik. “Until we can connect a person suffering from opioid use disorder to treatment, we will work with individuals, loved ones and concerned members of the community to make sure they are prepared to respond if an overdose does occur. We urge anyone who needs access to naloxone to attend one of these free training sessions, where they also will receive an Opioid Rescue Kit.”

Each training has two sessions available. The first session is a 30- to 45-minute classroom-style training in small groups with an informative presentation and plenty of time for practice and questions. This is the best option for all audiences. The second session is a Point of Distribution (POD)-style training event best for returning trainees, or those who have used their naloxone kit previously. The POD session is open for one hour, but participants should plan only for a 15-minute window to complete the training during this hour. Participants do NOT need to attend for the full hour of the POD session. At the completion of both training sessions, each participant is eligible to receive an Opioid Rescue Kit.

Trainings are currently being held monthly at the following venues, dates, and times. Due to ongoing and changing COVID-19 precautions, all attendees are asked to register via the EventBrite page to ensure compliance with state and facility/site restrictions. Available tickets through http://delaware-dsamh.eventbrite.com will be updated to reflect current capacity limitations at each location.

 

STARTING IN MARCH

Chapel on the DHSS Campus, 1901 North DuPont Highway, New Castle, DE 19720
3rd Saturday of each month 11 a.m.-noon (training); noon-1 p.m. (POD)

Dover Public Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover, DE 19901
3rd Saturday of each month 2-3 p.m. (training); 3-4 p.m. (POD)
4th Thursday of each month 6-7 p.m. (training); 7-8 p.m. (POD)

Georgetown Public Library, 123 W. Pine St., Georgetown, DE 19947
1st Tuesday of each month 5-6 p.m. (training); 6-7: p.m. (POD)

Lewes Public Library, 111 Adams Ave., Lewes, DE 19958
2nd Saturday of each month 1-2 p.m. (training); 2-3 p.m. (POD)

Shipley State Service Center, 350 Virginia Ave, Seaford, DE 19973
3rd Tuesday of each month 11 a.m.-noon (training); noon-1 p.m. (POD)

Ocean View Police Department Training Room, 201 Central Ave., Ocean View, DE 19970
4th Thursday of each month 2-3 p.m. (training); 3-4 p.m. (POD)

 

STARTING IN APRIL

Chapel on the DHSS Campus, 1901 North DuPont Highway, New Castle, DE 19720
2nd Thursday of each month 11 a.m.-noon (training); noon-1 p.m. (POD)

Bear Library, 101 Governors Place, Bear, DE 19701
4th Monday of each month 5-6 p.m. (training); 6-7 p.m. (POD)

If you or a loved one is suffering from substance use disorder and need support, call DHSS’ 24/7 and confidential Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333). A trained professional can offer a connection to treatment resources or services. For more information on overdose prevention, visit HelpIsHereDE.com.


Dover Health Care Provider Expands Behavioral Health Services for the LGBTQ Community

NEW CASTLE (Feb. 21, 2022) – A Dover primary care office is expanding behavioral health services for LGBTQ individuals thanks to federal grant funding. A Peaceful Place Integrated Care is using the grant to support the addition of a certified drug and alcohol counselor, a licensed clinical social worker, and a peer navigator to help treat patients with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. The funds also support the use of telehealth to help patients continue accessing treatment.

A Peaceful Place is a minority-owned, woman-owned primary care office run by Ericka Daniel, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner. Daniel decided to open a practice that focuses on the unique needs of the LGBTQ population after she completed training in transgender health and non-binary gender education and realized there are few service providers with this specialized knowledge in Delaware.

“I would go to refer patients to LGBTQ-affirming health providers and realized there were hardly any,” Daniel said. “So, I decided to start my own practice.”

Daniel’s office provides primary care and wraparound behavioral health support services. Although she accepts all patients for primary health care, she seeks to create an environment that is especially LGBTQ-affirming. For example, the practice provides gender-affirming hormones for transgender individuals.

The practice also welcomes those who have substance use disorders and those diagnosed with hepatitis C. Daniel prescribes buprenorphine in both the oral and injectable forms, as well as naltrexone and vivitrol.

The Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) oversees the $37 million State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the source of the funding for A Peaceful Place. Rick Urey, Chief of Addiction Services at DSAMH, said that partnering with LGBTQ-friendly health care providers is critical to ensuring a pathway for all patients who need treatment for substance use disorders.

“We want anyone who needs treatment services to feel like they have places they can go where they are welcomed and respected,” Urey said. “Having an LGBTQ-friendly primary care office that also offers behavioral health services is a huge asset for our community. Not all health care providers understand how to prescribe medication for opiate use disorders, let alone how to integrate it with the specific health care needs of LGBTQ patients, especially those on hormone therapy.”

Daniel’s decision to integrate behavioral health services with primary care is driven by the frequent co-occurrence of mental health and substance use disorders in the LGBTQ community, as well as first-hand experience with her patients’ needs.

“LGBTQ patients have often suffered a series of traumatic experiences that can have a substantial effect on their physical and mental health,” Daniel said. “Due to perceptions about their lifestyle, it might have been separation, abandonment, and being ostracized by their faith communities. This causes a lot of trauma and people begin to self-medicate to numb that pain, which can lead to addiction and other risky behaviors.”

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, sexual minority adults are nearly twice as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to suffer from substance use disorder. Moreover, there were huge treatment gaps: less than 14% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults with SUD reported not receiving treatment during the 2019 survey. A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh found that nearly 1 in 10 gay/lesbian youth reported a history of heroin use compared to 4.1% of bisexual and 1.1% of heterosexual young people.

Some of the contributing factors to a higher prevalence of substance use among sexual minorities may include social exclusion, physical abuse, rejection by family or community, or other types of discrimination. A widely cited study from the University of Michigan found that LGB adults who have experienced multiple forms of discrimination are four times more likely to experience substance use disorder.

“I don’t want them to have to worry about facing rejection by another health care provider,” Daniel said. “It’s critical that they can have their needs met for their opiate use disorder and/or hormone replacement therapy in a setting that is respectful and nonjudgmental.”

Trust built over time is critical for developing the best health care plans with her patients. “Some patients initially try to hide their addiction from their primary care physician, but when they come to us, we take a holistic approach to talking about their health, and over time they become comfortable talking with me about more aspects of their health,” Daniel said.

When clients faced financial problems, Daniel has applied for the state’s Opioid Impact Fee Fund scholarships to ensure their recovery is not jeopardized. “I’ve used this fund for hotel stays and to pay for utilities for patients who were struggling financially,” she says. The fund, established through Senate Bill 34, was signed into law in 2019 and has been administered by DSAMH. Nearly 600 scholarships for housing, transportation, basic necessities, and other needs have been awarded to date to support the recovery of people with substance use disorders.

“This is a judgment-free zone,” Daniel said of A Peaceful Place. “Everyone has a messy life, so don’t let that stop you from coming in. We just want you to be healthy, to be well, to live how you want to live, according to your own yardstick.”

• • •

Learn more about health care services provided by A Peaceful Place at www.apeacefulplaceintegratedcare.com or by calling 302-264-9436.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, you are encouraged to call DHSS’ 24/7 free and confidential Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE or text CONNECT to 55753.

Funding for these initiatives is supplied by grant number 5H79TI083305-02 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of SAMHSA or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


DHSS Marks Milestone of 100,000 Referrals for Substance Use, Mental Health Services

NEW CASTLE (Jan. 4, 2022) – The Department of Health and Social Services’ (DHSS) Division of Substance Use and Mental Health (DSAMH) has surpassed a milestone of 100,000 referrals through its Delaware Treatment and Referral Network (DTRN), a system for Delawareans seeking substance use and mental health services.

Delaware is the first state to make more than 100,000 referrals using this system, built on the OpenBeds® platform, a bed registry platform owned by Bamboo Health (formerly Appriss Health + PatientPing). The DTRN system identifies and tracks behavioral health and social determinants of health resources throughout the state, giving providers immediate visibility into resource availability across a shared network. This makes it easier to get people the help they need when they need it.

“One death from an opioid overdose or from a mental health crisis is one too many,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Ph.D., RN. “For families coping with a loved one, who suffers from substance use disorder or mental illness, finding help is an immediate need that must be met. The 100,000 referrals through DTRN demonstrates that we are mending the fractured behavioral health system in Delaware, so people can get access to treatment and on the path to recovery. As Chair of Delaware’s Behavioral Health Consortium, we remain committed to saving lives through platforms like DTRN and the network of behavioral health providers. Newsweek recently recognized Delaware in November 2021 as one of only four states that the CDC reported as having a decrease in the annual percentage rate of opioid deaths. DTRN was a significant tool contributing to this reduction.”

“This milestone represents a systematic improvement in identifying and treating individuals with substance use disorders,” said Joanna Champney, Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. “That is 100,000 times where a pathway to treatment was made available for someone so they didn’t have to end up in the emergency room or worse.”

The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health launched DTRN in October 2018 as a way to improve outcomes for Delawareans suffering from a substance use disorder, while coordinating support for accompanying needs for housing, employment, education and other wraparound services. A recent white paper summarizing first-year results showed that the cloud-based network for expedited client referrals to inpatient and residential behavioral health programs generated a 45% increase in treatment referral requests in its first year, while improving rapid acknowledgment of referrals by 25%.

“Open Beds has been a fantastic platform that has provided transparency like never before,” said Steve Beltran, MSN, an RN Nurse Manager for ChristianaCare. “It has allowed us to place our patients in the right level of care faster. And has proven to be an effective method to communicate with care providers and agencies across the state.”

Overdose deaths continue to rise in Delaware, reaching 447 in 2020 (up from 431 in 2019 and 401 in 2018). Of those 447 deaths, 372 (83%) involved the use of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine.

The state’s opioid prescribing rate in 2020 of 45.2 per 100 people is higher than the U.S. average of 43.3, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Lack of visibility for providers in determining current inpatient and residential treatment center capacity can make it challenging to connect clients with appropriate substance use and behavioral health services in a timely manner. Referring physicians and treatment providers often struggle to share client data, admission criteria, and availability. For clients in need, these delays can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

By assisting providers with the onboarding process to encourage adoption of the Delaware Treatment and Referral Network, Delaware expanded the number of active users on its network by 264% in its first year. The referral platform also improved response rates to referral requests, with 65% of receiving organizations acknowledging a client referral within 30 minutes, an increase of 25% since the program’s inception a year prior.

“DTRN has been pivotal in connecting individuals with behavioral health and substance use issues with appropriate providers in an efficient and collaborative manner,” said John McKenna, CEO of Rockford Center. “This technology has substantially improved not only access to treatment for individuals and families, but also has facilitated an enhanced level of communication between the referring agency and our Assessment Center. Whether it’s accepting individual referrals at our front door, or helping our discharging patients get connected to community services prior to leaving our facility, DTRN has assisted in removing barriers and promoted access to a wider range of resources in our state. The system also provides us with critical data that allows us to better understand patient and family needs, engagement in treatment, and potential service gaps.”

“The Delaware Treatment and Referral Network has allowed the Department of Correction to connect individuals in our custody to vital health care services upon their release to the community,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Monroe B. Hudson Jr. “DTRN makes possible a seamless transition to resources like Medication-Assisted Treatment for offenders who struggle with addiction. Simply put, keeping these behavioral and medical health care services in place without interruption saves lives and is helping the DOC and our partners improve reentry outcomes across Delaware.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction in Delaware, call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment and recovery options at 1-833-9-HOPEDE or visit www.HelpIsHereDE.com or treatmentconnection.com.


Georgetown Family Practice Integrates Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder into Primary Care Setting

NEW CASTLE (Nov. 12, 2021) – Atlantic Family Physicians plans to expand access to lifesaving Medication for Opiate Use Disorder (MOUD) for more than 100 patients with opioid use disorder this year. The Georgetown-based family practice, headed by Dr. Fabricio Alarcon, currently has 12 patients on MOUD. Two full-time nurse practitioners have been hired to help provide treatment for additional patients. The expansion is funded by a federal grant provided through the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health in response to the state’s opioid epidemic.

Dr. Alarcon said he was inspired about the use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder eight years ago when he filled in as the medical director for a nearby outpatient treatment center. “I loved that helping patients stay sober could change their lives,” he said. “I’ve seen marriages be saved, and families get stronger when people get treatment.” Dr. Alarcon went on to obtain his board certification in addiction medicine. He began treating patients with opioid use disorder years ago, but says he’s now focused on integrating medication-assisted treatment into the primary care office setting.

Sussex County ranks high for overdoses, and its rural setting creates challenges for getting to office visits for patients who may lack transportation. “It’s critical for the state to expand the number of treatment providers in Sussex County,” said Joanna Champney, Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

Champney said that expansion of treatment and overdose prevention in the state’s rural areas is a major focus of the Overdose System of Care Committee, which she co-chairs with Dr. Rick Hong, Medical Director for the Division of Public Health. “Rural areas are particularly vulnerable because people are isolated,” she said, “and they can’t get to treatment as easily, and there are fewer providers to choose from.”

The Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) is funding additional staffing and supports for Atlantic Family Physicians to expand its MOUD practice through a federal grant. The State Opioid Response (SOR) grant brought in $37 million in discretionary funds for the state to expand opioid and stimulant use treatment and overdose prevention initiatives. The Atlantic Family Physicians initiative is one of 56 sub-grant applications currently received by the division for SOR funding. In addition, 37 of the applications are focused on helping a variety of health care programs screen existing patients for opioid use disorder.

Offering medication for opiate use disorder (MOUD) in a primary care setting not only expands the provider network, but it also helps reduce the stigma around patients seeking treatment from a formal drug and alcohol treatment center. In response to the transportation barrier common in rural settings, Atlantic Family Physicians will coordinate transportation to patients in need.

Medical office manager Jessica Riddle said she enjoys the long-term relationships formed with patients who regularly come in for treatment. “It is important to us that patients don’t feel judged coming in for treatment,” she said. “We treat all patients with respect.” Special bonds form with patients as they engage in treatment. “We see them regularly, and we get to know them and then if they miss an appointment, we worry about them and call and check to make sure they are OK,” Riddle said.

Depending on the specific medication a patient is taking for opioid use disorder treatment, the frequency of office visits varies. Initially, patients come in weekly. As they continue to engage in treatment and begin to improve, office visits can begin to be spaced out. Most patients end up coming in monthly. Patients who are coming out of active addiction typically are prescribed buprenorphine, Dr. Alarcon said. Those who may be coming out of an inpatient or outpatient treatment program can be prescribed Vivitrol, especially if they are also using alcohol.

Alarcon says patients may stay on medication-assisted treatment for 6 months or up to 10 years or longer. “It really depends on the patient,” he said. “You have to let your brain retrain itself. People who are still emotionally unstable, experiencing mood swings, may not be ready. Their brains are still reacting to the addiction. You’ll know you can consider tapering off treatment when you start to feel more leveled.” In his experience, patients who stop treatment too early often struggle to manage their cravings and are at higher risk to relapse. Last year, there were 447 fatal drug overdoses in the state, with 122 in Sussex County.

Two nurse practitioners in the office completed 24 hours of training to obtain the necessary credentialing to prescribe medication for opioid use disorders. The credential is commonly referred to as the “x-waiver.” Dr. Alarcon also recently hosted a meeting to train and educate all the office staff about how to talk with patients about treatment for opioid use disorder. “It’s new to a lot of medical staff, and we want our patients to feel welcome at the practice,” he said.

In addition to obtaining the required x-waiver, Alarcon’s staff participated in the Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) Fellowship, which teaches treatment providers how to help patients manage opioid use disorder through treatment approaches. “The course was amazing and taught us how to design office workflows for this type of treatment. It also showed us how to bill insurance. It was probably the best training we’ve ever received,” Dr. Alarcon added. DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance sponsored the OBOT fellowship this year, supported by the SUPPORT Act Planning Grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. DSAMH plans to offer the trainings to additional providers this year using federal funds.

The next challenge Dr. Alarcon hopes to address is the high number of patients who leave emergency departments after a non-fatal overdose, but never show up to start treatment. His dream is to offer 24-hour induction, meaning patients could be brought to his practice anytime, day or night, after leaving an emergency department, to begin treatment for their opioid use disorder. An expansion of this type would require additional staff. However, Alarcon admits that since he is always on call, he already sees patients on a totally flexible schedule, with no set time windows. “We are here. We are willing to help people not only get sober, but to get their lives back together.”

Asked what advice he would give to other doctor’s offices considering expansion to include treatment for opioid use disorders, Alarcon said he would tell them to “absolutely do it.” He said he is willing to mentor doctors in the process and welcomes the opportunity to show medical professionals first-hand how expanding their practices to include these patients can be incredibly rewarding. “Honestly, the patients are great. I had one patient who would literally go out during a hurricane or a tornado to get his next heroin fix. That’s how much he was in the grip of addiction. And now he’s sober. He tells me that I saved his life. Even though he actually saved his own life by getting sober, we helped him in the process.”

The state’s Bridge Clinics, which are operated by the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, are also partially funded with the federal SOR grant funds. Three Bridge Clinics statewide – one in each county – see walk-in clients, at no cost, for any type of mental health or substance use disorder. Clients are evaluated promptly and a connection to a longer-term treatment plan is arranged.

Grant funds are also being utilized to add substance use clinicians within the Delaware State Police. The program, which is operational in three troops and seeks to double its reach this year, connects people with substance use disorder to a clinician in lieu of arrest when they have contact with police. Naloxone, the lifesaving overdose reversal medication, is also being distributed with the grant funds. During the past year, more than 13,000 naloxone kits have been distributed, along with training on how to appropriately respond to an opioid overdose and use the medication.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use, you are encouraged to call the Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE or text CONNECT to 55753.

Funding for these initiatives is supplied by grant number 5H79TI083305-02 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or polices of SAMHSA or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


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.