Indiana Well being Chief Jennifer Sullivan Resigns
Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and a key player in the state’s pandemic response, resigns.
Sullivan is the longest person in the post in the agency’s 30-year history to accept a job in the North Carolina private sector, Governor Eric Holcomb announced in a press release on Wednesday.
Dr. Dan Rusyniak, the government’s chief medical officer, will take over on August 1st.
Holcomb praised Sullivan for her service.
“Jennifer Sullivan is dedicated to improving the social and human needs that Hoosiers face every day,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Secretary Sullivan has looked at some of the most complex problems our state has ever dealt with and found new innovative ways to achieve better results.”
Sullivan’s new role
Sullivan, also an emergency physician at the Riley Hospital for Children, will become Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations for Atrium Health, a Charlotte-based healthcare system that includes 37 hospitals and the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Atrium Health Executive President Ken Haynes said in a statement emailed that Sullivan’s public service experience will enable them to work on improving health care policies.
“Secretary Sullivan is a special talent,” said Haynes, also president of the Charlotte Area for the company. “Her extensive public health experience aligns closely with our ‘for all’ mission to serve those who are underserved.”
Sullivan was named secretary to the Family and Social Services Administration in 2017 and served under then Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams, also serving as the state’s assistant health commissioner. In that position, she helped lead the state’s response to the Scott County’s HIV outbreak and set up Indiana’s first needle exchange program.
Indiana Healthy Plan and Other Projects
During her more than four years as head of administration, she oversaw a 10-year extension of the Indiana Healthy Plan, coordinated SNAP benefits, and was one of the state’s most high-profile cabinet members, regularly at press conferences with Governor Eric. Holcomb and Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box.
But her term in office was not without controversy. Sullivan came under fire for trying to implement work requirements for people under the Healthy Indiana Plan. A pending federal lawsuit is calling for the Gateway to Work program.
Controversy over the healthy Indiana plan:The state temporarily suspends the obligation to work
While Sullivan said in a statement that the exit was difficult, she added that she hoped in her new role to have a direct positive impact on the lives of millions of people.
“I’ve had great opportunities in my career to advance health in service to others,” said Sullivan. “Although it is difficult to leave such a fulfilling role, I feel a calling that I have decided to follow.”
Dan Rusyniak steps in
Rusyniak, who practices medicine one day a week at Eskenazi Hospital, is leading the state’s COVID-19 response, overseeing long-term care and nursing homes during that time. Prior to joining the administration, Rusyniak was the medical director at the Indiana Poison Control Center.
During the pandemic, Rusyniak showed both character and leadership skills, Holcomb said.
“He was under consistent pressure and always based his decisions on the general health and wellbeing of Hoosiers. “Dr. Dan “will seamlessly step into this new role and continue to serve some of our most vulnerable with the same compassion and steady hand.”
Contact IndyStar reporter Shari Rudavsky at [email protected] Follow her on Facebook and Twitter: @srudavsky.