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Nebraska Governor names Smith to lead Health and Human Services Department

Nebraska Governor names Smith to lead Health and Human Services Department
(Courtesy Photo)

Governor Pete Ricketts announced Dannette R. Smith as the next Chief Executive Officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.  Her appointment comes at the conclusion of a national search for a customer-oriented leader for the agency, which commenced in September 2018.

“Dannette is the customer-oriented, results-driven leader Nebraska needs for the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Her focus on measurable results and experience with strategic planning will build on the great work the agency has been doing to deliver a higher level of service.  The DHHS team has been making great progress, and I look forward to working with Dannette as we continue to move the agency forward in the coming years.”

Smith has more than 25 years of executive leadership experience in large, complex organizations and most recently served as the Director of the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services since 2013.  During her tenure at Virginia Beach, she led several initiatives including:

  • Integrating Behavioral Health and Developmental Services with the Department of Social Services to create a seamless organizational structure to enhance service delivery.
  • Developing an integrated healthcare system for children entering the child welfare system.
  • Focusing on data-driven results with the creation of a data dashboard that measures the distribution and processing of SNAP and Medicaid benefits.
  • Collaborating with law enforcement to provide a first responder approach to Behavioral Health Services in the community.

“I want to thank Governor Ricketts for this opportunity to serve the people of Nebraska,” said Smith.  “I look forward to collaborating with the entire team to move the agency forward to fulfill our mission of helping people live better lives.”

Smith starts February 25, 2019.  Her salary will be $220,000.

The appointment follows CEO Dr. Courtney Phillips, who departed from the State of Nebraska to serve Governor Greg Abbott of Texas as Executive Commissioner for Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

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