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PA-Gov: Wolf Unveils Physician General, More Cabinet Nominees

wolfIt’s getting toward the end now.

Governor-Elect Wolf has announced nearly every potential member of his cabinet.

Today, he unveiled four more choices: Ted Dallas for Secretary of the Department of Human Services; Karen Murphy for Secretary of the Department of Health; Gary Tennis for Secretary of the Department of Drugs and Alcohol; and Rachel Levine for Physician General.

“My top priority is to expand Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, and as my administration works to fix the myriad problems that exist with the current system, I need the Department of Human Services to be run efficiently and effectively,” said Governor-elect Tom Wolf. ” Secretary Ted Dallas has two decades of experience working with Medicaid, and under his leadership the Maryland Department of Human Resources reduced poverty, placed more people in jobs than ever before in state history, and was recognized by the federal government for program efficiency. This week, Casey Family Programs recognized Secretary Dallas’ work in child welfare and his efforts to improve the lives of children and families. He will provide the leadership necessary to run one of Pennsylvania’s largest agencies.”

“Dr. Karen Murphy began her career as a nurse and worked her way up to become the chief executive officer of a health system. She has an extensive understanding of the health care industry and has substantial executive experience,” Wolf continued. “Over the last two years, Dr. Murphy has run a $900 million federal program designed to accelerate health care innovation across the country. Dr. Murphy will apply the experience she has gained in the public and private sectors to her role leading Pennsylvania’s Department of Health and health care transformation across the commonwealth.”

“Secretary Tennis has helped improve re-entry services for individuals in recovery, and he has strengthened programming to reduce recidivism rates,” said Governor-elect Wolf. “He has also received national recognition for his efforts to improve collaboration among law enforcement and healthcare organizations to reduce drug overdose deaths. Under Secretary Tennis’ leadership, the Department of Drugs and Alcohol was efficiently established and has effectively administered the management and allocation of state and federal funds used to oversee alcohol and drug prevention, intervention and treatment services.”

“Dr. Rachel Levine is well-respected in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health, where she has practiced for close to three decades. She has been a leading voice in efforts to treat teens with medical and psychological problems, as well as adults and children with eating disorders. It is important to me that we place equal emphasis on behavioral and physical health issues. Dr. Levine will bring expertise and wide-ranging knowledge to this important role advising the secretary of Health and me on medical and public health matters,” Wolf concluded.

The transition team provided the following background information on each selection:

Ted Dallas – secretary, Department of Human Services. Under Secretary Ted Dallas’ leadership, the Maryland Department of Human Resources reduced poverty and set state records for job placement. The department was also recognized by the federal government as one of the most efficient and highest performing states at administering food assistance, which resulted in extra funds coming to the state. Secretary Dallas was recently chosen to receive a national award from Casey Family Programs for his contributions to the child welfare field and his efforts to improve the lives of children and families.

Theodore “Ted” Dallas was appointed secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) in May of 2011, after serving as interim secretary since the beginning of that year. Prior to this appointment, Dallas served as Governor Martin O’Malley’s deputy chief of staff, where he oversaw more than a half-dozen state government agencies ranging from economic development to housing and community development. Prior to his work in Maryland state government, Dallas served for five years as the executive deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Dallas manages all programs and systems administered by DHR and oversees assistance provided to over one million Marylanders annually. Dallas earned an undergraduate degree in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Temple University.

Dr. Karen Murphy – secretary, Department of Health. Dr. Karen Murphy started her career as a nurse and worked her way up to become the chief executive officer at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton. Dr. Murphy has extensive knowledge of the health care industry and is a proven executive who has demonstrated her ability to lead complex organizations and initiatives in both the public and private sectors. For the past two years, Dr. Murphy has led the State Innovation Models Initiative, a $900 million investment by the federal government aimed at accelerating health care innovation and transformation across the nation.

Dr. Karen Murphy is currently the director of the State Innovation Models Initiative at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Dr. Murphy has an extensive career in healthcare administration and consulting. She was the former president and chief executive officer of the Moses Taylor Health Care System.  Prior to becoming CEO of Moses Taylor Health Care System, Dr. Murphy served in various roles in health care administration. As founding chief executive officer of Physicians Health Alliance, Inc. (PHA), Dr. Murphy also led an integrated medical group practice within Moses Taylor Health Care System.  Dr. Murphy currently serves as a clinical faculty member in the Medicine Department at The Commonwealth Medical College.  Dr. Murphy earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, a Master of Business Administration from Marywood University, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Scranton, and a diploma as a registered nurse from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing.

Gary Tennis – secretary, Department of Drugs and Alcohol. Secretary Gary Tennis is a nationally recognized expert in drugs and alcohol. Tennis is currently the chairman of the National Alliance on Model State Drug Laws and he serves on the Board of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. In June last year, Tennis received the Exceptional Leadership and Support of Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment award from the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors.

Gary Tennis is currently Pennsylvania’s secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP). He is the state’s first secretary of DDAP. Previously, Tennis held many influential positions, including the chief of the Legislation Unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, chairman of the District Attorney’s Hiring Committee, executive director of the President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws, and acting executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. Tennis is also the chairman of the National Alliance on Model State Drug Laws and he serves on the Board of the National Association of State Alcohol\Drug Abuse Directors. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa in 1975 and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Dr. Rachel Levine – Physician General. Dr. Levine is an expert in pediatrics and psychiatry. While at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Dr. Levine led the initiation of a Division of Adolescent Medicine for the care of complex teens with medical and psychological problems. She also started the Penn State Hershey Eating Disorders Program, which offers multidisciplinary treatment for children, adolescents, and adults with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. In her role as physician general, Dr. Levine will advise the governor and secretary of the Department of Health on medical and public health-related issues.

Dr. Rachel Levine is currently a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine and vice-chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital-Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Dr. Levine came to Pennsylvania in 1993 a director of Ambulatory Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Polyclinic Medical Center. Dr. Levine previously practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine from 1988-1993 in New York and was on the faculty of the Mt Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Levine has also worked closely with the Penn State Hershey Office of Diversity as the liaison for LGBT Affairs, mentoring and assisting LGBT students, faculty and staff. She graduated from Harvard College in 1979 and the Tulane University School of Medicine in 1983. She completed her training in Pediatrics at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City in 1987 and then did a Fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Mt. Sinai from 1987-88. Dr. Levine currently lives in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

8 Responses

  1. I think you made good choices with the exception being the first one who is from out of state. We have enough people in Pa. who are just as qualified.

  2. Allan Benn calls Levine an “enlightened choice”. Look at her LGBT focus. Is this the big city liberal agenda being pushed on the rest of our Commonwealth? ……………Allan Benn calls her ‘brilliant’. Smart is not the only qualification for anything. If it was, we would have thousands to choose from and a competent President.

  3. Jon Pollard would be a GREAT Sect. of Education. An Ivy League Graduate, an Eagle Scout an American Mensa and a dam hard worker.

  4. Rachel Levine is a brilliant person and a brilliant choice for Physician General. There could be no better choice to help integrate enlightened approaches to health care as science leads us away from the artificial distinction between physical and mental health. Wonderful news!

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