Ann Silverberg Williamson became executive director of the Utah Department of Human Services in October 2013. She is responsible for the strategic direction and administration of services that promote opportunities for Utahns to live safely in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities.
Ann is leading work toward a comprehensive system of care and integrated business operations to strengthen the experiences and outcomes of children, families and adults. She guides the delivery of individualized services at the right time and in the least restrictive environment to strengthen individual, family and community well-being. Ann champions dynamic internal and external partnerships to strengthen prevention and early intervention work, a statewide crisis response system and solutions to intergenerational poverty.
She previously served as President & CEO of Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations and was appointed as Assistant Secretary, and then Secretary, for the Louisiana Department of Social Services for a combined eight years. Ann graduated from Wofford College with a Bachelor’s of Theology and earned her Master’s of Social Work from Louisiana State University.
Mark Brasher Deputy Director
Mark Brasher oversees fiscal operations and administrative and technology services for DHS. He also guides DHS directors in areas of cyber security, fiscal operations, fiscal audits, licensing, recovery services and administrative hearings. As the former director of the Office of Recovery Services, Mark brings a wealth of successful management experience, a thorough understanding of Medicaid, years of working with a complicated federal system and a depth of experience in government finance. In 2007, Mark was recognized as the Department of Human Services Manager of the Year.
Lana Stohl Deputy Director
Lana Stohl, LCSW, MBA, works closely with the Executive Director to make decisions for the different divisions, offices and institutions within DHS. Lana guides division and office directors in the areas of Aging & Adult Services, Office of Public Guardian and System of Care. Lana has more than 40 years of experience in the fields of mental health and substance use disorders including administrative and clinical roles in government, community mental health and substance abuse treatment centers. Lana has a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Kentucky and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Utah.
Heather Barnum | Communications
Heather Barnum, APR, is the DHS Director of Communications. Her work at the Department includes determining DHS’ strategic communications direction, managing media crises, internal communication efforts and sharing DHS’ stories with the public and media. Prior to her time at DHS, Heather managed strategic communications across public, private and agency sectors for nearly 20 years and served as the president and long-time board member of the Public Relations Society of America Greater Salt Lake Chapter. Her formal education includes undergraduate degrees in communications/public relations and Spanish, as well as a master’s degree in public administration.
Dallas Earnshaw | Utah State Hospital
Dallas Earnshaw, APRN, CNS, BC, is the Superintendent of Utah State Hospital, which serves individuals who have severe and persistent mental illness and also helps restore competency to court-ordered individuals. He has served as President of the Western Psychiatric State Hospital Association and his vision was focused on promoting the development and implementation of a Best Practice Model at the hospital. Dallas began working at the hospital in 1983 and has held many positions within the hospital including forensic program director, nursing administrator and assistant clinical director.
Xia Erickson | Public Guardian
Xia Litz Erickson is known for her professionalism and compassion in caring for some of the most vulnerable individuals we serve. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in accounting and began her career with the State of Utah at the Utah State Tax Commission. Xia went on to pursue a Master of Social Work and worked with Adult Protective Services prior to employment with Office of Public Guardian in January 2011. Xia first worked as a guardian then Program Administrator in 2015. Xia is certified as a National Certified Guardian by the Center for Guardianship Certification and is a Certified Social Worker.
Staci Ghneim | Operational Excellence
Staci Ghneim loves working with department colleagues and community partners to enhance DHS operations in order to better support direct care staff, serve more people in need, and improve their experiences and outcomes. She has served most of her career in Human Services, including as Deputy Director of Child and Family Services, with several years in the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. Staci is a Social Service Worker, a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and a Theory of Constraints Jonah. She is a Social Work PhD Candidate at the University of Utah, and holds an MBA from Western Governors University and a BS in Family Science from Brigham Young University.
Nels Holmgren | Aging & Adult Services
Nels Holmgren oversees programs that promote healthy and secure lifestyles for Utah’s growing senior population. By working with local partners, the Area Agencies on Aging, and other interested parties in the aging network, his team provides critical services to empower Utah’s seniors to remain independent and in their own homes. Additionally, the division includes Utah’s Adult Protective Services which investigates cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation among Utah’s seniors and vulnerable adults and works to resolve protective needs.
Rick Little | Management Information Center
Rick Little manages DHS-wide reporting, analytics and quality measures. Rick has worked with data and research for more than 20 years. He recently joined DHS from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget where he served as the state’s director of performance measurement. His experience working with many state agencies combines mission focus with operational improvements and data analytics. Rick is also the former director of workforce research and analysis at the Department of Workforce Services. He holds a Master of Science in business and human resource management from Utah State University. His passion is working with direct care providers and their leaders to improve results for people served by public programs.
Diane Moore | Child & Family Services
Diane Moore leads implementing, improving and evaluating Child & Family Services policies and practice; facilitates collaboration and partnership among federal, state and local child and family serving entities and community partners; and represents Utah child welfare on a federal, state and local level. Moore began her career with DHS 25 years ago as a caseworker, and was most recently the Director of the DHS Office of Licensing. Moore is a licensed Social Service Worker and received her Master of Public Administration degree from Brigham Young University.
Justin Naylor | Quality & Design
Justin Naylor oversees service continuum and design, contract development, and internal and external quality assurance and evaluation that help to ensure access to a flexible, integrated and effective array of services and supports. He works to determine how and what services have the greatest success in achieving positive results for children, youth, families and adults. Previously, Justin was a long-time DHS partner with more than 20 years of experience creating and administering services for children, adults and families’ unique strengths and needs across their lifespan and across human services systems. During this time Justin was engaged in system improvement as a DHS partner and leader within provider and professional associations. He is passionate about collaboratively improving our efficiency and effectiveness at helping people.
Brett Peterson | Juvenile Justice Services
Brett Peterson is responsible for the state-wide administration of programs, services and facilities providing short- and long-term care, custody and supervision of at-risk, runaway and delinquent youth. Brett’s integrity and conviction to spread helpful good in the world is infectious. Brett’s law background includes working in contracts with the Department of Corrections and at DHS working with youth residential providers and staff on the DHS-wide performance-based contract. Most recently as Office of Licensing Director, Brett facilitated groups to form a more streamlined approach to health and safety monitoring and incident reporting that is more accessible and collaborative. Brett will continue to champion improving outcomes for youth and families, while advancing community safety and youth accountability. Through his demonstrated skills of the law, quality assurance, operational procedures, contracting and relationship-building, Brett will advance juvenile justice reform and JJS’ SUCCESS+ goals to reduce recidivism.
Angella Pinna | Services for People with Disabilities
As director of the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD) Angie Pinna has been instrumental in implementing system wide change for individuals with disabilities by working with legislators, stakeholders and policy makers in compliance with federal regulations and quality measures. Prior to her time as DSPD director, Angie oversaw statewide quality management and constituent services, as well as resource development and training. She has served at DSPD since 2000 in almost every area of the division in both rural and urban areas and worked on the provider side of service prior to her time at the state.
Brent Platt | Legislative & Stakeholder Relations
Brent Platt works closely with Executive Leadership and DHS Directors to improve contracting/procurement, funding mechanisms and record-sharing barriers to help families obtain greater access to services and increase positive outcomes. Brent previously served as the Director of Child & Family Services, and will resume this position in 2018. He began working for the DHS in 1993 as a caseworker in Blanding and also worked as a clinical social worker at the Utah State Prison for a time. Brent is committed to promoting child safety and well-being and his trauma-informed approach is recognized nationally. He graduated with a Master’s of Social Work from California State University, Sacramento.
Liesa Stockdale | Recovery Services
Liesa Stockdale serves on the Executive Committee of the National Council of Child Support Directors. Prior to being appointed as director, Liesa was an agent in collections and order establishment, a policy analyst, and a supervisor of the Policy Analyst and Training Unit for Child Support Services. Liesa graduated from Weber State University and has worked for the Office of Recovery Services for more than 20 years.
Sonia Sweeney | Administrative Hearings
Judge Sonia Sweeney is the Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings. The Office of Administrative Hearings provides hearings for the adjudication of disputed agency actions and is independent of the agency initiating the disputed action in its decision-making authority. Judge Sweeney has been an Administrative Law Judge since 2008 and begin serving as the Director of the Office in 2013. Previously, Judge Sweeney worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Child Protection Division of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, and as a staff attorney at the Disability Law Center.
Douglas P. Thomas | Substance Abuse & Mental Health
Doug Thomas, LCSW, has worked in the mental health and substance use disorder field for more than 22 years in various capacities as both a service provider and administrator. He has worked in both urban and rural settings and previously oversaw county services implementing evidence based service delivery models; expanding prevention, treatment and recovery support services in rural Utah. Doug is passionate about prevention, early intervention and integrating efforts to produce lasting outcomes to reduce risk and increase the well-being of individuals, families and communities.
Guy Thompson | Utah State Developmental Center
Guy Thompson, RN, MSN, has been associated with Utah State Developmental Center for 25 years helping those with severe mental and developmental disabilities live self-determined lives. In 2011, he was appointed Superintendent. Guy has worked in several hospitals in the intermountain west, caring for patients in intensive care units and emergency rooms. His love has always been working with people with disabilities.
Tyson Walker | Bureau of Administrative Support
Tyson Walker is the Director of the Bureau of Administrative Support, which includes risk, emergency management, security and facilities management. He conducts caseworker safety training and has reduced both the total claims and claim costs for the Department. Tyson is also a member of the State Emergency Response Team and acts as the FEMA State Mass Care Coordinator, under which he has deployed to Florida multiple times to assist with hurricane recovery through interstate agreements. He is dedicated to ensuring workers are safe and the Department is prepared for an emergency event. He received his Master of Crisis and Emergency Management from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Ruth Wilson | Clinical Director
Ruth Wilson brings more than 30 years of experience in the development, implementation and administration of programs serving children, youth and families. She received a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Utah, a Master of Business Administration from Western Governor’s University and is a licensed clinical therapist. Her prior experience includes 20 years at Valley Mental Health as both the Clinical Director serving adults and the Children’s Director, and as a consultant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Mental Health Services. Prior to her current role as Clinical Director, she expertly served the Department as the Director of System of Care and the Assistant Director for Children’s Behavioral Health.