Governor Mike Parson announced he has named Acting Director Paula F. Nickelson the Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Nickelson was appointed Acting Director on March 1, 2022, with more than 22 years of service with DHSS.
Following unprecedented challenges faced by the public health and healthcare workforce over the past three years, Nickelson has been planning for and executing workforce enhancements for both the department and partners in local public health and healthcare throughout the state. She has focused on the adoption of a new model for public health in Missouri, which describes foundational programs and capabilities that must be available to every Missouri resident and in every community to assure the best opportunity for health. Nickelson has been working to modernize systems to provide more efficient services to Missourians. She is a catalyst for advancing Missouri’s historically under-resourced public health system.
Additionally, Nickelson is prioritizing some of the top issues affecting Missourians such as maternal mortality and opioid misuse by ensuring that policy and programmatic recommendations are being pursued to have a positive impact on Missourians’ health outcomes.
Nickelson will stand for Senate confirmation during the 2024 legislative session.
(Photo courtesy Sarah Kellogg – St. Louis Public Radio)