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Secretary Sebelius Announces New HHS Regional Directors.

WASHINGTON -- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the appointment of new Regional Directors of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"HHS welcomes Cristal, Marjorie, Judy and Susan and we look forward to working with them to achieve HHS' mission to protect the health of all Americans and provide essential human services," Secretary Sebelius said. "Their individual experience and knowledge of our department's most important issues, as well as local understanding of the people and institutions in their respective Regions make them a welcome addition to HHS."

* Cristal Thomas, Regional Director Region V (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI)

* Marjorie McColl Petty, Regional Director Region VI, (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX)

* Judy Baker, Regional Director Region VII (IA, KS, MO, NE)

* Susan M.R. Johnson, Regional Director Region X (AK, ID, OR, WA)

As HHS regional directors, they will serve as key representatives of Secretary Sebelius in working with federal, state, local and tribal officials on a wide range of health and social service issues.


Cristal Thomas, MPP, has served as executive director of the Ohio Executive Medicaid Management Administration (EMMA) since January 2008. In 2007, she was appointed Ohio Medicaid Director. In this role, she was responsible for administration of the Medicaid program and the State Children's Health Insurance Program in Ohio, as well as implementing many of the Governor's health care initiatives.

Previously, she served as director of strategic planning at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), the state agency responsible for the Illinois Medicaid and child support enforcement programs, and was later appointed assistant director of that agency.

Prior to that, Ms. Thomas served as a policy and regulatory analyst in the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she focused on federal health care policy. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and received a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

Marjorie McColl Petty, J.D., M.S., has served as director of public affairs and consumer protection for the Kansas Corporation Commission since 2003. She also serves as chair of the board of directors of the Delta Dental of Kansas, a position she has held since August 2008. She has served on the company's board of directors since 2001.

From 2006-2008, she was president of the board of directors of the Delta Dental Foundation, where she reviewed and granted $2.9 million for oral health projects for Kansans. Previously, she served as a subcontractor for two regional offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a public policy manager.

Mrs. Petty has also served as a State Senator in Kansas, and a member of the Topeka City Council. She received a JD from Washburn University School of Law and a Masters in Education/Counseling from the University of Kansas.

Judy Baker is a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives, representing the 25th District. In the legislature, she was a lead sponsor of several health care reform initiatives and related legislation, and also founded the "Healthy Missourians" Caucus, a bi-partisan caucus that promoted prevention and responsible approaches to health care delivery in the state.

Her health care experience and service spans both the public and private sectors. Currently, she is a managing partner of Cura Advantage, a consulting firm she founded focused on health care systems design and improvement. In 1998, she joined the University of Missouri's University Physicians practice plan, first serving as director of operations at Capital Region Medical Group in Jefferson City, and then as interim executive director of the entire practice plan until 2002.

The Hon. Baker earned a BES and a Masters in Healthcare Administration at the University of Missouri. She also received a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Susan M.R. Johnson, has served as the director of the King County Health Action Plan for the Public Health Department in Seattle and King County since 1997. In that capacity, she has developed and implemented innovative programs addressing health care needs for children, teenagers and persons with chronic diseases.

Previously, Ms. Johnson was appointed by Governor Lowry to the Washington State Health Care Policy Board, where she represented the concerns of consumers and workers in the development of health policy recommendations for state officials.

From 1984-1995, she served as director of governmental relations for the Washington State Council of the Service Employees International Union. She received a B.A. from Middlebury College.

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 17, 2009
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