NEW CASTLE (Jan. 8, 2021) – Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Molly Magarik today announced five leadership changes for the organization involving four divisions and one of the Department’s Deputy Secretary positions.
Sarah Noonan Davis, who has served in leadership roles at the University of Delaware and Westside Family Healthcare, has been named Deputy Secretary for Special Populations, Strategic Planning and Innovation. In her new role, Noonan Davis will focus on special populations, as well as strategic planning and innovative practices that are needed to move the department into the 21st century. She will oversee the Divisions of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities Services, Visually Impaired, and Management Services. Noonan Davis previously served as Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations at the University of Delaware and as Deputy Director and Associate Deputy Director at Westside Family Healthcare, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), with health centers in New Castle and Kent counties.
Noonan Davis graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 2004 and a Master of Public Administration in 2006, and is working on her Doctor of Urban Affairs and Public Policy in Health Policy from UD.
She replaces Lisa Bond, who left DHSS for a position in the private sector. Noonan Davis, who lives in Wilmington, will begin in her role on March 1, and will join Tanisha Merced, who serves as Deputy Secretary of Policy and Social Services for DHSS. Together with Secretary Magarik, they will ensure that the service delivery and support for DHSS leadership, staff, community partners and clients remain strong during the COVID-19 pandemic, while beginning to advance the goals and initiatives outlined in the DHSS strategic plan.
“In her role as Deputy Secretary, Sarah Noonan Davis will bring her experience serving Delawareans in various roles and also her countless community relationships to help lead our agency during these critical times,” Secretary Magarik said. “Until the pandemic is over and all Delawareans who want the vaccine have received it, our highest priority is continuing to coordinate with our providers on service delivery, along with the services that DHSS provides directly to people in need. In addition, Sarah’s talents and skills will be critical as our agency, staff, providers and clients make the transition to a post-COVID world, and we refocus on meeting the needs of the communities we serve.”
In addition to the Deputy Secretary announcement, Secretary Magarik also announced these leadership changes:
Dava Newnam, who has been Director of the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) and has served in various roles at DHSS for 20 years, has been named Director of the Division of Management Services (DMS). Newnam will serve as the Chief Operating Officer for the department, with responsibilities of managing a $3 billion budget and 3,500 employees. As Director of DSAAPD since August 2017, Newnam led more than 700 employees and was responsible for directing the state-run Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill in Smyrna; community-facing units serving about 20,000 vulnerable Delawareans older than 60; and the Adult Protective Services unit, which protects vulnerable adults who are at risk of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. She has earned degrees in Psychology from St. Petersburg Junior College and Delaware Technical and Community College. Newnam, who lives in Wilmington with her family, will begin her new role on Jan. 11.
Melissa Smith, who has been Deputy Director of the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) since November 2018, has been named its Director. Smith has served in various roles at DHSS for the past 16 years, including as planning supervisor and long-term care planner in DSAAPD and deputy director and director of planning at the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH). Before joining DHSS, she served as analyst with the Government Accountability Office and as an analyst with the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Justice. Smith earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Delaware and also a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs and Public Policy. Smith, who lives in Newark with her family, will begin her new role on Jan. 11.
Thomas Killian Jr., who has been serving as Regional Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, has been named Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH). He will begin his new role on Jan. 19. Alexis Teitelbaum, who has been serving as Acting Director, will return to her previous role as Deputy Director for DSAMH.
Killian, who is a licensed Behavior Specialist, has more than 14 years of experience in behavioral health services, including the past eight in leadership positions at nonprofits and university-affiliated psychiatric institutes and clinics. Since April 2020, he has served as Regional Director at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, where he led efforts to provide stability and standardization of the Behavioral Health Service Line over three hospitals in Altoona and Somerset, Pa., and Cumberland, Md., and provided oversight for both inpatient and ambulatory services within these hospitals and communities. He supervised department heads, presided over training, and was responsible for fiscal management, hiring, building relationships with partners, clients and community, and strategic planning. He previously served as Executive Director at Garrett County Lighthouse, Inc., in Oakland, Md., Associated Clinical Director at Keystone Human Services in Harrisburg, Pa., Primary Inpatient Therapist at Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Harrisburg, Pa.; and Program Manager at Pennsylvania Treatment and Healing in Pottsville, Pa.
Killian earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, both from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa.; a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Phoenix; and is working on Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology from Northcentral University in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Faith Mwaura, who has been a Senior Social Services Administrator in the Division of State Services Service Centers (DSSC), has been appointed as its Deputy Director. Mwaura, who has been with the division since 2010, previously served as Social Services Administrator, where her duties included administering federal grants and state-funded Community Food Programs, and developing the Community Services Block Grant State Plan. Her current duties as a member of the division’s leadership team include monitoring, directing and overseeing federal, state and private funding that benefits low-income and vulnerable Delawareans. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Wisconsin Lutheran College and a Master’s Degree in Urban Development and Public Policy from the University of Delaware. Mwaura replaces Cynthia Manlove, who retired after almost 40 years of service to the people of Delaware at DHSS. Mwaura, who lives in New Castle with her family, will begin her new role Jan. 17.
“I am excited to have these five individuals in these critical positions,” Magarik said. “They all have important experience in reaching out to employees, clients, providers, and other community partners; innovating even during challenging circumstances; and doing the hard work of strategic planning. I want to offer a special thanks to Alexis Teitelbaum for her leadership of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health for the past four months, and I know she will help provide important support to Thomas Killian as he transitions into his role.”
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.