Department of Human Services Leadership

Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH

Secretary of Human Services

Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH, was appointed to lead the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services by Governor Josh Shapiro on January 17, 2023. She completed the nomination process and took office as Secretary on June 29, 2023.

Prior to this role, Secretary Arkoosh served on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners since January 2015, when she was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Commission. Arkoosh won election to a full four-year term in November 2015 and served as Commission Vice Chair until her election as Commission Chair in November 2016. She was the first woman ever to serve in this role. Arkoosh was re-elected in November 2019 and unanimously chosen by her colleagues to again serve as Chair in January 2020. Montgomery County is the third most populous county in Pennsylvania with over 856,000 residents. The three-member Board of Commissioners oversees a budget of more than $500 million and directs more than 2,800 employees charged with administering and overseeing county functions, including human services.

As Commission Chair, Secretary Arkoosh was committed to strengthening services for children, veterans, and seniors. She led the efforts to eliminate street homelessness of veterans and streamline delivery of human services. Recognizing the need for a strong, supported workforce in executing these goals, she instituted a $15 minimum wage and gender-neutral paid parental leave for Montgomery County employees. Drawing on her background as a physician, she oversaw a multi-pronged, integrated response to the opioid overdose epidemic, including issuing a standing order in 2015 to enable participating pharmacies in Montgomery County to dispense the overdose antidote naloxone at the request of any member of the public.

As a physician and public health professional, Secretary Arkoosh was at the center of Montgomery County's efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, leading a data- and science-driven approach to the unprecedented challenge. Arkoosh's leadership was praised during the county's response, especially her transparency and public communication throughout the pandemic. Secretary Arkoosh is also a staunch advocate for maternal health and reproductive rights, and previously served on the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee.

Upon obtaining her Master of Public Health in 2007, Arkoosh became deeply engaged in the national effort to achieve comprehensive health care reform. She led the National Physicians Alliance, a national non-profit organization of physicians, who, putting their patients before profits, joined a broad-based nation-wide coalition for reform. During this time, she developed policy and legislative strategy, and promoted public engagement in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and throughout the country. Dr. Arkoosh maintains comprehensive knowledge of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its impact on individuals and the health care system.

Prior to stepping into public service, Secretary Arkoosh was Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Arkoosh is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and received a Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She performed her residency at Jefferson Medical College in Anesthesiology with a special focus in Obstetrics. She has an undergraduate degree in economics from Northwestern University.

Secretary Arkoosh lives in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, with her husband and their three children.

Executive Deputy Secretary

Andrew Barnes

Andrew Barnes is the Department of Human Services’ Executive Deputy Secretary. Previously, he served as the Executive Deputy Secretary in the Governor’s Office of Policy and Planning and was responsible for the overall progress and development of relevant public safety, policing, veterans affairs and emergency management policy priorities. He has served within the Commonwealth since 2004 in varying public service capacities, including Director of Victim Services within the Office of Victim Advocate and Legislative Liaison for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. He holds a Master’s in Justice Studies from Arizona State University and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from West Virginia University.

Executive Offices


Executive Deputy Secretary

​Andrew Barnes

​Office of the Budget

Gloria Gilligan

​Office of General Counsel

Ken Serafin

​Office of Legislative Affairs

​Hannah Kranz

​Office of Policy Development

Danielle Duckett

​Office of Press and Communication

​Ali Fogarty

Program Office Deputies

Program OfficeDeputy

Office of Administration

​ Stephanie Shell

Office of Child Development and Early Learning

​Shantè Brown

​Office of Children, Youth, and Families

Laval Miller-Wilson

Office of Developmental Programs

Kristin Ahrens

Office of Income Maintenance

Hoa Pham

​Office of Long-Term Living

​ Juliet Marsala

Office of Medical Assistance Programs

Sally Kozak

​Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Jen Smith