Gov. Justice announces DHHR secretary and advisory roles for WVU leaders

POSTED: 12/12/2022 at 10:34 pm


Gov. Jim Justice named Dr. Jeff Coben interim secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, effective Dec. 12, 2022. Coben assumes the role formerly held by Bill Crouch who announced his retirement effective Dec. 31, 2022. Crouch will remain at DHHR as an advisor until that date.

“I appreciate the opportunity to continue to be of service to the state and the people of West Virginia,” Coben said. “I’ve been working closely with the staff of DHHR for the past 12 years, and I don’t think you can find a more dedicated group of people. I’m looking forward to working to address the health challenges of the state head on and as quickly as possible.”

Additionally, Dr. Clay Marsh, chancellor and executive dean for WVU Health Sciences and the state’s Covid-19 czar, and Retired Major General James Hoyer, vice president for economic innovation, will serve as advisors to Gov. Justice and to DHHR leadership, effective Dec. 12, 2022.

“We are here in every way to work to improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens, to provide access to the health resources for each and every West Virginian, and to protect the vulnerable,” Marsh said. “We are deeply committed as a team to be able to help the governor, and I am so pleased that Dr. Jeff Coben has agreed to serve in this interim role.”

Coben will step away from his current roles as associate vice president for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Public Health. Summer Hartley, assistant vice president for Health Affairs will assume operational oversight of the Health Affairs Institute. In the School of Public Health, Sarah Woodrum, senior associate dean for administration, and Erik Carlton, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs, will oversee the school’s operations.

“When the governor calls, you step up, and we are here to do our best to provide support and advice as we continue to move forward with the restructuring of DHHR,” Hoyer said. “We’re working with an agency that deals with the most vulnerable of our population – our seniors and children – and we’ll do all that we can to help take the best care of the citizens of our state.”

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