Emily Rice Published

Coben Steps Down From DHHR

Three people are seated behind a table with microphones, dressed in suits.
(from left) Dr. Jeff Coben, Dr. Sherri Young and Dr. Cynthia Persily speak during a Justice administrative briefing.
WV Governor's Office

Dr. Jeff Coben is stepping down as Interim Secretary of the DHHR on July 5 after six months in the position.

In a press release, Gov. Jim Justice thanked Coben for his work, calling his departure “planned” since his appointment on December 12, 2022.

“Dr. Coben has done a tremendous job heading up DHHR and assisting through the many facets of the upcoming transition to three new departments,” Justice said. “I ask all West Virginians to join me in thanking him for his service to our state.”

Effective July 5, 2023, Dr. Sherri A. Young is the new interim secretary of the DHHR until the termination of the DHHR and the creation of the Departments of Health, Human Services, and Health Facilities.

“Having the opportunity to help shape the future of public health for West Virginia is an honor,” said Young. “I want to thank Governor Justice for this incredible opportunity, and I look forward to working together closely with Secretary Persily and Secretary Caruso as we support and protect the health of our West Virginia citizens.”

On May 24, 2023, Justice announced that Young would be appointed as Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health. He also appointed Dr. Cynthia Persily as Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Human Services, and Michael Caruso as Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health Facilities. 

The West Virginia Department of Health will include the Bureau for Public Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Center for Threat Preparedness, Health Care Authority, Office of Inspector General and Human Rights Commission.

The West Virginia Department of Human Services will include the Bureau for Behavioral Health, Bureau for Child Support Enforcement, Bureau for Family Assistance, Bureau for Medical Services, Bureau for Social Services and Office of Drug Control Policy.

The West Virginia Department of Health Facilities will include Hopemont Hospital, Jackie Withrow Hospital, John Manchin Sr. Health Care Center, Lakin Hospital, Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, Welch Community Hospital and William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital.

The three new cabinet secretaries will develop a memorandum of understanding to establish the Office of Shared Administration, which will provide shared services from centralized units such as finance, human resources management, management information services and constituent services.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.