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Dr. Michelle Robinson to serve as the first director of DHS Office of Health Equity

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Dr. Michelle Robinson will serve as the first-ever director of the newly formed DHS Office of Health Equity, Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced on Tuesday.

“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 in a statement. “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) where she leads an internal review team providing independent, objective assurance and consulting services to the agency, according to a press release from DHS, 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 expertise in the field of health equity and systems changes 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.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

The Office of Health Equity 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, according to a press release. 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.

Robinson will begin her new role with the Office of Health Equity on Monday, Oct. 25.