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DSAAPD Welcomes New Leadership in 2021


The Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) is pleased to welcome a new Director.

photo of Dava Newnam, DSAAPD Director

Melissa Smith, who previously served as the Deputy Director of the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, has been named as DSAAPD’s new Director.  She assumed her new role on January 11, 2021.

Melissa has served the State of Delaware in various capacities within the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) for the past 16 years, including as Planning Supervisor and Long Term Care Planner in DSAAPD, and Deputy Director and Director of Planning at the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Before joining DHSS, she served as an Analyst with the Government Accountability Office and as an Analyst with the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Justice. Smith earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Delaware and a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs and Public Policy.

Melissa is a fervent advocate for person-centered care and has spent much of her state career working to advance person-centered principles in services provided to Delawareans. She also has a strong government planning and analyst background that will complement her years of experience in the Department. She will continue the work of the Division to meet the challenges of linking Delaware’s rapidly expanding aging population and growing number of adults with disabilities with the services and supports that they need to thrive in Delaware during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Melissa replaces Dava Newnam, who is now serving as Director of the Division of Management Services.



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