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Meet the Secretary

Meet the Secretary

Cabinet Secretary Kristi Putnam

Kristi Putnam became the Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Human Services in January 2023. She has more than 20 years of policy and hands-on experience in human services, early childhood services, education, workforce development, and health policy, including implementation of Kentucky’s Medicaid transformation and several other innovative statewide policy and process initiatives.

Kristi has provided policy and strategy guidance to several legislative leaders, including House leadership in the Kentucky House of Representatives, federal agencies, such as The Administration for Children & Families’ Office of Family Assistance, and many state Health & Human Services agencies.

Kristi served in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), beginning in March 2016 in the child welfare and family assistance office. After serving with CHFS for two years and leading Medicaid
Section 1115 waiver innovation efforts, she was appointed in May 2018 to serve as Deputy Secretary of CHFS, where she served until December 2019. In this role, Kristi helped lead impactful and collaborative cross-cabinet reforms in health policy, public benefits delivery, human-centered design and workforce strategies, operational technology improvements, child welfare, and education supports. She assisted in leading daily operations for CHFS, a cabinet with more than 8,000 employees and an operating budget of over $14 billion.

After her time at CHFS, Kristi co-founded Connecting the Dots Policy Solutions, a policy consulting group focused on driving government innovations in the intersection of health, human services, education, workforce development, and economic growth.

Kristi also served as the Child Welfare Services Manager, Chief of Community-Based Care, and Statewide Foster Care Licensing Specialist in Florida’s privatized community-based system of foster care and adoption. Her prior experience in Florida included policy and legislative development and implementation in the Department of Education, Department for Children and Families, the Florida Partnership for School Readiness, and Executive Office of the Governor.

Most recently, Kristi served as the Chief People Officer for AppHarvest, a publicly traded agtech startup in Kentucky.

Kristi was born and raised in the small town of DeLand, Florida, graduated from DeLand High School, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Social Work from Florida State University. She also earned a Master’s degree in Psychology in Industrial & Organizational Change from Southern New Hampshire
University.

Kristi and her husband Claude have three adult daughters and two grandchildren.

Meet the Secretary’s Team

Deputy Director for Youth and Families

Mischa Martin previously served as the Director of the Division of Children and Family Services. In this role, she was responsible for the safety of children and youth in Arkansas, child abuse and neglect prevention, foster care, and adoption programs. Mischa earned a Juris Doctorate from the William H. Bowen School of Law and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 2008, she joined DHS, and represented the Department in dependency neglect cases, adult maltreatment cases, and central registry administrative hearings. In 2015, she was named Deputy Counsel, where she managed the attorneys who represent DCFS, Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division, and Adult Protective Services. She then served as the assistant director of compliance and monitoring for the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities Services. In 2016, Mischa transitioned to DCFS where she has a passion for serving children and families.

Deputy Director of Health and State Medicaid Director

Janet Mann has over twenty years’ experience in healthcare and healthcare finance. She has worked in the public and private sector for multiple states and clients. Janet has served as the Division Director for DHS’s Division of Medical Services overseeing the Medicaid operations before and during the beginning of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency until April 2021. She also served as DHS’s Chief Financial Officer for a year in 2017. In addition, Janet was a Deputy Administrator for Medicaid in Mississippi during Governor Haley Barbour’s administration, 2006-2010. Janet has worked in the private sector focused on healthcare and public sector for several entities throughout her career but most recently at Horne LLP in Ridgeland, Mississippi. While consulting, Janet worked closely with other states implementing public policies and programs in areas of program integrity, managed care, audit and compliance and financial processes. Janet holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Alabama and is a Certified Public Accountant. Janet has been married to Doug for over 29 years and has 2 grown children, Sydney and Will.

Chief of Staff

Mark White first joined DHS in 2013 and has served in a variety of capacities including work in the Secretary’s Office, the Office of Chief Counsel, and the Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services. In addition to serving as Secretary of DHS in 2022, Mark has served as Chief of Staff and Chief Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Officer, where he represented DHS before the Arkansas Legislature and serves as a primary point of contact for legislators, elected officials, lobbyists, and other state agencies. In 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed him to the Governor’s Transformation Advisory Board, which helped lay the groundwork for the reorganization of state government culminating in the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019. A licensed attorney, he has previously worked at the Arkansas Department of Education and the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and he served as a Policy Advisor to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Staff

NameTitlePhone
Kristi PutnamDHS Secretary501-682-8650
Fax: 501-682-6836
Mischa MartinDeputy Director for Youth and Families501-682-8999
Janet MannDeputy Director of Health & State Medicaid Director501-682-8999
Delisa RaderAssistant to Deputy Director Youth and Families and Deputy Director Health & State Medicaid Director 501-682-8999
Mark WhiteChief of Staff501-682-8650
Misty EubanksChief Financial Officer501-320-6327
Gavin LesnickChief of Communications and Community Engagement501-320-6228
Amy WebbMedicaid Control Center Director501-682-8650
Courtney BrownAssistant to the Secretary501-682-8650
Dominique ParkerAssistant to the Communication Officer and Legislative Affairs501-682-8650