DHS names director for new health equity office

By: - October 5, 2021 2:47 pm
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Michelle Robinson has been named to lead a new state agency that focuses on issues of equity in health care, Gov. Tony Evers and the state Department of Health Services (DHS) announced Tuesday.

Michelle Robinson, Ph.D.
Michelle Robinson

Robinson will begin her job as director of the Office of Health Equity at DHS starting Oct. 25. The equity office was created earlier this year to “advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the department while also coordinating the development and implementation of policies and programs to address root causes of health inequities,” according to a DHS statement. The office includes the Wisconsin Minority Health Program, established by state law in 1999 to develop policies to improve the health of vulnerable populations in the state and coordinate efforts to reduce health disparities.

Robinson is currently director of the Office of the Inspector General at the state Department of Children and Families (DCF), where she also holds the position of equity and systems change research and policy officer. She is vice-chair for the Governor’s Health Equity Council, which Evers established early in his term to create a plan to address health disparities in the state and produce “long-lasting and equitable health outcomes for all Wisconsinites,” according to the council’s website.

Robinson previously was a research, data and policy associate for the Race to Equity Project at Kids Forward, a Madison based research, policy and advocacy organization focusing on children and families, particularly low-income families. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At the Office of Health Equity, Robinson stated that she will “strive to make Wisconsin a place where your zip code, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, religion, physical and mental ability, or education does not determine your ability to be safe, healthy, and thriving.”

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.