Secretary Wos Announces Key Leadership Changes at DHHS

Raleigh, NC

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos, MD, announced today that Robin Gary Cummings, MD, Deputy Secretary for Health Services and Medicaid Director, will step down from his position to accept the role of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

"Dr. Cummings' extensive healthcare experience and long-standing relationships within the medical community enabled him to identify opportunities to deliver Medicaid services more effectively and efficiently and improve the Medicaid budget, which is in the best shape it has been in for five years," said Secretary Wos. "He successfully led the first restructuring of the division in 35 years, which is a critical step to ensuring its long-term stability and preparing for Medicaid reform."

Dr. Cummings joined DHHS in March of 2013 to lead the Office of Rural Health and Community Care. He was named Deputy Secretary for Health Services in August of 2013 and assumed the role of Medicaid Director in April 2014. He is a board-certified general and cardiothoracic surgeon.

Born in Robeson County, North Carolina, and a member of the Lumbee tribe, Dr. Cummings has previously served on the Board of Trustees at UNC-Pembroke and is the founding chairman of the N.C. American Indian Health Board.

"It's the highest position I can go home to," said Cummings. "Serving under the leadership of Secretary Wos as the state's Medicaid Director has been an honor and one of the most valuable experiences of my career.

"This has given me a better understanding of our citizens' needs and has prepared me to be an effective leader in my next role as the chancellor of UNC-Pembroke."

Cummings' last day will be June 5.

Dave Richard, Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Services, will replace Dr. Cummings as Deputy Secretary of Medical Assistance.

Richard has extensive experience with the Medicaid program throughout his 33-year career. In his work with The Arc, he was involved in advocacy and policy development related to the Medicaid program at the state and national level. In his tenure as executive director of The Arc of North Carolina, he led The Arc's effort to become a provider under the Medicaid program and provided leadership for its successful programs.

Since joining DHHS as director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services and in his current role as Deputy Secretary, he has been directly involved with the oversight of the Local Management Entities and Managed Care Organizations (LME-MCO) system, which is responsible for more than $2 billion of Medicaid funding in a managed care delivery system.

Richard's knowledge of the Medicaid program, from both outside and inside government, combined with his extensive management experience, make him uniquely qualified to take on this role.

Richard's position will be filled by Dale Armstrong, current director of State Operated Healthcare Facilities. Armstrong has spent more than 30 years in healthcare leadership, both as CEO of acute care hospitals as well as 16 years leading behavioral healthcare systems in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, serving inpatients, outpatients and overseeing residential services. He joined DHHS after serving as the vice president of Regional Operations and Affiliations for WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh.

Armstrong will assume the role of Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Services while maintaining his current duties overseeing the state healthcare facilities. Armstrong is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a graduate of Leadership North Carolina.

Courtney Cantrell, PhD, will continue to lead the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services and with an increased leadership role to support Armstrong in his combined role.

Cantrell is a clinical psychologist with a doctorate from Florida State University. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Cantrell earned the rank of Captain, serving as an Air Force psychologist. She then moved to North Carolina to continue her career in integrated care as the Lead Behavioral Health Coordinator at AccessCare, a CCNC network, where she facilitated integrated care partnerships with the LME-MCOs. In her tenure at DHHS, Cantrell has been instrumental in realigning the Division of Mental Health to meet the changing health care needs of behavioral health patients.

Richard and Armstrong both begin their new positions June 1.

Beginning July 1, Randall Williams, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist from Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness will become the Deputy Secretary of Health Services. Williams will oversee the Division of Public Health and the Office of Rural Health and Community Care.

Williams has been actively engaged in both taking care of patients in North Carolina and in public health for the last 26 years. A native North Carolinian, he attended public schools in Burlington and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with honors with a double major in History and Zoology. Williams attended UNC School of Medicine where he was a Holderness Fellow and co-founded the Students Teaching Early Prevention initiative. He then served as Administrative Chief Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at North Carolina Memorial Hospital.

Since moving to Raleigh in 1989, Williams has served as president of the Wake County Medical Society and on the Wake County Board of Health. He was subsequently elected by the North Carolina Medical Society to serve on the North Carolina Commission for Public Health from 2004 until 2012. He is president-elect of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine Alumni Association that has 4,500 graduates living in North Carolina.

For the last 11 years, Williams has served as a volunteer in U.S. State Department and World Health Organization sponsored endeavors, teaching physicians and helping with clinical governance overseas. Serving mostly in conflict zones, his work has taken him to Iraq on 11 deployments in addition to Afghanistan, Libya and Haiti. He has been recognized as the Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year, News and Observer Tar Heel of the Week and Triangle Business Journal Health Care Hero of the Year.

An avid runner, Dr. Williams has run marathons in Boston, New York, Paris, Athens and Jerusalem.

"I am delighted with the appointment of these high-level leaders into these key roles," said Secretary Wos. "I have complete confidence that the experience and leadership qualities of both Dave Richard and Dale Armstrong make them the right leaders for these positions and am equally confident in the depth of experience Dr. Randall Williams will bring to this leadership team."

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