Dr. Cardra E. Burns headshot.

Dr. Cardra E. Burns

Deputy Secretary for Operational Excellence

Dr. Cardra E. Burns was appointed to the role of Deputy Secretary for Operational Excellence in April 2021. Operational Excellence aims to integrate transparency, accountability, performance management, equity, and quality improvement in all aspects of how we do business.  Dr. Burns is charged to provide leadership and oversight of Human Resources, Information Technology, Procurement, Budget and the Controller’s Office, Internal Audit, Property and Construction, and later the creation of a new office focused on process optimization and continuous quality improvement. 

Dr. Burns is a transformational and accomplished leader with 18 years of progressive public health administration experience in Georgia and North Carolina. She has a strong dedication to improve the health, safety, and well-being of all North Carolinians.  She was previously the Senior Deputy Director for NC DHHS-Division of Public Health, where she oversaw several key public health sections and simultaneously led the COVID-19 testing workstream and the procurement efforts specific to testing and vaccination.  

Dr. Burns holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition/Food Science from Georgia Southern University, a Master of Business Administration from Webster University, a Master of Public Administration, and a Doctorate in Business Administration with a specialization in Information Systems Management, both from Walden University.  Also, she is a certified lactation counselor and an Associate Professor with Baker College and Ashford University.