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MDHHS announces key staffing changes and reorganization to further commitment to children, youth and families

LANSING, Mich. – Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced several staffing changes and a departmental reorganization designed to improve collaboration, provide an increased focus on key service areas and increase administrative efficiencies.

“MDHHS continually looks for opportunities to refine and enhance our delivery of services to improve the health, safety, and prosperity of Michigan residents,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “I am excited to continue working with our outstanding leadership team as we deliver health and opportunity to all Michigan residents, reduce intergenerational poverty and promote health equity.”

David Knezek, Chief Operating Officer

David Knezek, chief deputy director of administration, has been promoted to serve as the chief operating officer.

He will oversee the department’s Economic Stability Administration and its 96 district and county offices across Michigan, Financial Operations Administration and the department's $35 billion budget, Communications Administration, Strategic Integration Administration, and Office of Legislative Affairs.

Knezek came to MDHHS in 2021. Prior to joining the department, he was the director of legislative affairs at the Michigan Department of Attorney General and a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan State Senate.

Emily Skrzypczak, Chief of Staff

Emily Skrzypczak, senior advisor to the chief deputy director of administration, has been promoted to chief of staff. She will oversee Tribal Government Services and Policy.

She will report directly to the MDHHS director while also providing support to the chief operating officer. Skrzypczak came to the department in 2019 as the director of Legislative Affairs. Prior to joining the department, she worked for the Michigan League for Public Policy and Michigan House of Representatives.

Lewis Roubal, Senior Advisor of Human Services

Lewis Roubal, chief deputy director for opportunity, has announced his retirement from MDHHS in February 2024 after 23 years of service. He previously served in a variety of roles within the department, beginning his career as a frontline caseworker and holding a variety of leadership roles including Mecosta/Osceola County director and Business Service Center 2 director.

“Lew has played a key role in Michigan’s efforts to provide greater access to benefits, such as food assistance, and sought innovative ways to improve human services program delivery throughout his career,” Hertel said. “His experience, leadership and passion for helping children and families will be greatly missed. I wish him well in his upcoming retirement.”

Roubal will remain with MDHHS as senior advisor of Human Services until his retirement.

Laura Blodgett, Senior Deputy Director of Communications

Laura Blodgett, director of external relations and communications, has been promoted to senior deputy director of the Communications Administration. She will oversee the Office of Communications, as well as the Bureau of Community Engagement and Workforce Transformation.

Blodgett came to MDHHS in 2021. Prior to joining the department, she provided strategic communications to Trinity Health Michigan, and served as a contributing writer for publications including The Detroit News and Crain’s Detroit Business.

Children’s Services Administration

Effective immediately, the Children’s Services Administration has been elevated within the department to report directly to Hertel. Previously, the administration reported to Roubal. As the department moves forward with its Keep Kids Safe Action Agenda, the reorganization is designed to increase executive engagement and oversight at the highest level of the department.

“Working in collaboration with Children’s Services Administration Senior Deputy Director Demetrius Starling, MDHHS has begun to reform the way we think about and engage on matters of child safety and family well-being. I’m eager to continue this work in close collaboration with the passionate and dedicated Children’s Services Administration staff that work around the clock to keep kids safe and enable them to live healthy, happy lives,” Hertel said.

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