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DHSS Press Release

Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: July 29, 2020


NEW CASTLE (July 29, 2020) - Incoming Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Molly Magarik, who will be sworn into office July 31, today announced several leadership changes across the organization. The changes:

Marissa Catalon, who previously served as Deputy Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS), has been appointed as the new Division Director effective July 1. Catalon replaced Marie Nonnenmacher, who is retiring on July 31. Catalon has served as Deputy Director for the past 2½ years and has worked for the State of Delaware for more than 27 years. She joined DDDS in 2005 as the Day and Transition Program Administrator for New Castle County. In 2011, she became the Statewide Director of Day and Transition Services, responsible for the oversight and management of all DDDS employment, day and transition services. Leslie Boyd, who previously served as Chief of Administration at the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, was appointed as DDDS' new Deputy Director. She started in her new position on July 20. Boyd began her public service in 1996 at DHSS' Division of Management Services in the Audit and Recovery Management Services Unit and held various positions prior to leaving DHSS and moving to the Children's Department as Chief of Administration. For the past 15 years in that role, she was responsible for the management of the Cost Recovery/Client Eligibility Unit.

Corinna Getchell, who has served as Director of the Office of Health Facilities Licensing and Certification at the Division of Health Care Quality (DHCQ), will be appointed Division Director. Getchell has worked in her previous position at both DHCQ and at the Division of Public Health, when the Office of Health Facilities Licensing and Certification was part of that division. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she also has a leadership role at part of the Long-Term Care Incident Command at the State Health Operations Center in Smyrna. Yrene Waldron is returning to retirement to spend time with her family.

Melissa Smith, who had been serving as Acting Deputy Director of the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) since November 2018, has been elevated to Deputy Director, serving with Division Director Dava Newnam. Smith previously served as a Special Projects Planner with DSAAPD with a focus on assessing the needs of the division's long-term care facilities, including implementation of person-centered care approaches. Smith has served in other leadership roles within DHSS, including as Deputy Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health and as Planning Supervisor in DSAAPD.

Deborah Talley, who had been serving as Acting Deputy Director of the Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI) since February 2020, has been elevated to Deputy Director. Talley has worked at DVI since 2014 in communications and outreach. She serves with Division Director Sandi Miller on DVI's leadership team. In addition to her work at DVI, Talley has almost 20 years in the field of employment services for individuals with disabilities and had served as Executive Director of the Delaware Business Leadership Network since 2017.

Finally, Magarik announced she will conduct a national search for a new Director for the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH). Deputy Director Alexis Teitelbaum will serve as Acting Director. Teitelbaum, who has served as Deputy Director since January 2020, previously served as Chief of Administration in DHSS' Division of Social Services. Elizabeth Romero will be transitioning to spend more time with her family and continue her life's work to improve equity, health and health systems.

"In addition to these leadership changes, I will name a new Deputy Secretary soon to help lead our agency during these critical times," Incoming Secretary Magarik said. "Thanks to the incredible leadership of our current Secretary, Dr. Kara Odom Walker, DHSS has a strategic plan to help guide us as we create more streamlined, efficient services for Delawareans. Over the past several years and during our ongoing COVID-19 response, we have worked to integrate health and social services, and those changes reflect a need to refocus on our 21st-century needs and align our pandemic efforts."

Magarik is replacing Dr. Walker, who is leaving her position on July 31 and will join Nemours' National Office of Policy and Prevention in Washington, D.C., as Senior Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer. Magarik served as Deputy Secretary to Dr. Walker since February 2017. As part of her portfolio of work, Magarik led strategic planning efforts and coordinated with the DHSS Reorganization Committee on key recommendations, which included realigning the organization with greater accountability. These leadership changes are part of initial steps to implement those recommendations. Over the coming months, she also will work to reorganize the Department to provide more coordinated and person-centered services for the people of Delaware.

The Department of Health and Social Services, with more than 4,000 employees, is responsible for meeting the health and social service needs of Delawareans by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency and protecting vulnerable populations.

As Deputy Secretary, Magarik directed and managed key priorities for DHSS, including health care financing, payment and delivery system reform; budget administration and management; and early childhood education. She also served as the Department's chief strategy officer and developed and maintained critical partnerships with Delaware cabinet agency leaders, the legislature, the federal delegation, advocates, and health care system leadership throughout the state.

Before joining DHSS, Magarik served as State Director for then Congressman John Carney and Political Director for Beau Biden's campaign for Attorney General. She also worked as a strategic advisor across nonprofits and government, including as Executive Director of the Delaware Democratic Party. She is a candidate for a Master's of Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College, and earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Women's Studies from the University of Delaware. She and her husband, Josh, have two daughters and live in Middletown.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.