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Governor Whitmer Announces Elizabeth Hertel as Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services


January 22, 2021 

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Governor Whitmer Announces Elizabeth Hertel as Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 


LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed Elizabeth Hertel as Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Hertel currently serves as the Senior Chief Deputy Director for Administration for MDHHS, where she oversees External Relations and Communications, Finance and Administration, Legislative Services, Legal Affairs, Policy & Planning, Strategic Integration, Organizational Services, Workforce Engagement and Community and Faith Engagement. 


“Elizabeth Hertel has dedicated her career to protecting Michiganders’ public health, and she is uniquely prepared to lead MDHHS as we continue working together to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “She has served across multiple administrations from both parties, and knows how to bring people together to get things done. In her service to the state, she has proven time and again that she will do everything in her power to ensure the health and safety of Michigan families everywhere. Ending the COVID-19 pandemic is going to take hard work and partnership between state government, businesses, and organizations across the state. I know that Elizabeth is ready and eager to start working with partners everywhere to get it done.” 


“As we work to ramp up distribution of the safe and effective COVID vaccine and end the pandemic, I am eager to work with Governor Whitmer and her administration to keep Michiganders safe and healthy,” said Hertel. “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the department at this time. Michigan is faced with a crisis unlike any we have seen before, but our aggressive action against this virus is working. Let’s finish the job and end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.” 


Hertel joined the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in 2013 as the senior assistant for Policy and Planning, and in February 2014, was appointed director of Policy and Planning. Following the merger of the Departments of Community Health and Human Services into MDHHS in 2015, Hertel served as senior deputy director for Policy, Planning and Legislative Services. In October 2016, she left that position to serve as director of Michigan Advocacy for Trinity Health and returned to MDHHS and her current position in February 2019. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Grand Valley State University and an MBA at Michigan State University. 


“Michigan Hospitals have been working around the clock to get more people vaccinated and keep our communities safe. Elizabeth is exactly the partner we need leading the state’s response to this virus, and we are eager to work with closely with her moving forward,” said Michigan Hospital Association CEO Brian Peters. 


Time and again, Elizabeth Hertel has proven her commitment to protecting the mental and physical health of Michigan residents everywhere” said Willie Brooks, President and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN). “She understands the deep challenges that we face when it comes to ensuring access to care, and she is well-equipped to solve them. I am ready to work with her as she leads the state health department not only through the COVID-19 pandemic, but throughout her entire tenure as director.” 


“Our mission at the Michigan Association of Health Plans is to expand high quality, affordable, accessible health care for the citizens of Michigan, and Elizabeth Hertel is exactly the partner we need leading DHHS to get it done,” said Dominick Pallone, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Health Plans. “As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the public health challenges we face, we are ready to work with Governor Whitmer, Elizabeth, and leaders across the state to protect Michigan citizens’ public health.” 


Robert Gordon has resigned from his position, and the governor has accepted his resignation. 


See below for a copy of Elizabeth Hertel’s headshot: