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Washington’s DSHS names new leader

Susan N. Dreyfus will oversee health, social services agency

Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services has a new leader: Susan N. Dreyfus, executive vice president for strategy with Rogers Behavioral Health System, Inc., in the Milwaukee area. She will take over as DSHS secretary May 18.

“Susan brings an outstanding record of accomplishment, particularly in the areas of child welfare and mental health services,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a press release today. “She has the knowledge, leadership experience and vision necessary to succeed in one of the most difficult jobs in state government. The demands placed upon the agency are enormous and expectations are high, a situation that will deepen in this recession. Susan is exceptionally qualified and ready to take the reins.”

In January, former Secretary Robin Arnold-Williams joined the governor’s office as director of Gregoire’s executive policy office.

DSHS is Washington’s largest state agency, with more than 19,000 employees and a combined state and federal two-year budget of about $20 billion. About 2 million residents each year come in contact with DSHS, from vunerable children to at-risk elderly.