MADISON — Andrea Palm, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee, is leaving to become the nominee as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Biden Administration. Her last day at DHS is Wednesday.

“Andrea Palm is a public servant through and through—she’s been a critical part of our administration and a consummate professional who has done an extraordinary job helping lead our state during an unprecedented public health crisis,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a news release.“I know she will continue to serve our country just as she has our state—with empathy, kindness, and tenacity. I wish her our very best as she leaves us to take this new opportunity.”

As head of the DHS, Palm was the point person in Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interim WI DHS Secretary

Gov. Evers also announced that Karen Timberlake, DHS secretary under former Gov. Jim Doyle during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus response, will serve as DHS interim secretary. Also, she will officially start at the DHS next Monday (Jan. 25).

Timberlake was most recently a partner at Michael Best Strategies, LLC (WI) advising in areas of public health, healthcare delivery, and healthy community investments and business development strategies. Prior, she was the UW Population Health Institute Director and an associate professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Timberlake also served during former Gov. Doyle’s administration as the director of the Office of State Employment Relations. Further, she was then appointed as deputy health secretary at DHS in mid-2007. Eventually serving as DHS secretary in 2008 where she served for the remainder of former Gov. Doyle’s tenure.

“Our response to this pandemic and our vaccine distribution program will continue under the leadership of Timberlake and given her expertise and familiarity with the Department, I have no doubts she will be able to hit the ground running,” Evers said.

READ MORE: DHS Announces Weekly Newsletter to Keep Public Informed of COVID-19 Response and Vaccine Progress


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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...