Barbie Robinson, MPP, JD, CHC Executive Director

In March 2021, Barbie Robinson was appointed Executive Director for Harris County Public Health (HCPH) – the nationally accredited county public health agency for the nation’s third-largest county serving a population of approximately five million people.

She leads the Department to serve as the Community Health Strategist for leading and enabling cross-sector partnerships that connect safety net services in an integrated way to ensure interventions, services, and programs address the social determinants of health holistically to reduce health disparities. As the Executive Director, she established new public health programs to reduce community violence and established the County’s ACCESS Harris County Initiative designed to deliver holistic care to the County’s most vulnerable populations in need of services across the safety net continuum. She also established the department’s first Maternal and Child Health Program in response to the maternal and infant mortality crisis in Harris County.

Under her dedicated leadership, the Department will focus on four key strategic priorities: health equity, health protection, health promotion, and operational excellence over the next five years. This strategic focus equips HCPH with the tools necessary to protect health, prevent disease and injury, and promote well-being for everyone in Harris County by advancing equity, building partnerships, and establishing culturally responsive systems. These priorities aim to reflect a Harris County in which all people can achieve their full potential for health and well-being.

Executive Director, Robinson has served as a change agent with the goal of meeting the substantial needs of the greater community. She successfully restructured HCPH’s various operations for more effective and efficient administration of existing and new public health programming.

Prior to her appointment, she served as Director of Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) for five years while concurrently serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Sonoma County Community Development Commission for the last 16 months of her tenure with the county. Robinson’s leadership was instrumental in forming Sonoma County’s ACCESS Initiative, a nationally and internationally awarded integrated care coordination model that helps underserved and vulnerable individuals achieve self-sufficiency and well-being. This model is being replicated across the Country.

She successfully led several key initiatives for the County including the passage of a one-quarter cent sales tax measure on the November 2020 ballot to raise approximately $25 million annually for ten years for a total of $250 million revenue for behavioral health and homeless services. Spearheaded the development of one of only 27 16-bed Psychiatric Health Facilities in the State of California while obtaining sponsorship and financial investments from the County’s 3 largest hospital systems. Led a public-private stakeholder process to overall the County’s Emergency Medical Services ordinance and services. Successfully negotiated the acquisition of two hotels for permanent supportive housing for up to 100+ homeless individuals as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Project Homekey Initiative. As a result of her strong administration skills, she successfully led efforts to respond to some of the County’s largest emergency and public health crises.

Robinson has over 27 years of experience in health care administration, policy, and research. Before Sonoma County, she worked at the Federal level at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for 15 years overseeing the administration of Federal healthcare programs, including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Medicare Fee-for-Service program, and the Affordable Care Act. She held numerous leadership positions at CMS, including Associate Regional Administrator (ARA) of the San Francisco and Atlanta Regional Offices Division of Financial Management and Fee-for-Service Operations; her leadership earned her the Administrator’s Achievement Award in 2014.

Robinson has been recognized for leading collaborative efforts to address health disparities, health improvement, and health equity throughout her career. She currently sits on several national and regional governance bodies including the Co-Chair Representative on the Steering Committee of The Way Home Continuum of Care, the lead agency to prevent and end homelessness in the Greater Houston Area. Robinson currently serves as the Sponsor of the Health Portfolio American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) with investments of more than $240 million.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts with a triple major (Political Science, Spanish, and International Sociology) from Middlebury College, her Master of Public Policy, Health and Social Policy from Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy, and her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School. She was admitted to the California Bar in 2000.

Danita Collins, MBA, FACHE Chief of Staff

As Harris County Public Health’s Chief of Staff, Danita Collins runs the day-to-day operations of the Office of the Executive Director.  Functioning as a “gatekeeper,” she monitors the flow of multi-platform communications to and from the Executive Director, managing the strategic and operational aspects for the Office of the Executive Director.

Danita is a seasoned health care executive with over 20 years of experience leading both the operations and strategic initiatives of multi-specialty ambulatory clinics and hospital operations. She will be joining by way of Harris Health System, where she served as a leader there for close to eight years. As an Associate Administrator of Clinical Integration and Transformation within Harris Health System, Ben Taub Hospital, she was an executive leader for several departments in her most recent role. She led several strategic initiatives in collaboration with various systemwide departments, such as Population Health, Quality, Compliance, HR, IT, and Risk Management.

Danita collaborated effectively with providers, staff, and other key stakeholders throughout her career to improve access, quality, patient satisfaction, and financial performance. She has proven success in strategy development and alignment, and the creation and implementation of process improvement initiatives related to workflows and productivity, resulting in key operational metrics. Specific initiatives include Medical Home accreditation, Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP), and COVID-19 response management, to name a few.

Danita, a native of Chicago, has an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in Health Administration from Governors State University; she is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).  In addition, she serves as a mentor for upcoming health care leaders in ACHE has served on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the local Southeast Texas chapter of ACHE.

Kimberly Henderson, PhD Deputy Chief of Staff

Dr. Henderson most recently served as the Director of the Office of Communications and Community Relations (OCCR) within the District of Columbia’s Department of Health (DC Health). In this position, she served as the spokesperson for DC Health and was responsible for day-to-day communication operations and the development and implementation of a comprehensive communications strategy with short-and long-term goals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she played a pivotal role by developing and implementing communication and outreach strategies that ensured all District residents were kept abreast of resources and services available in the city as well as what steps to take to remain vigilant and safe. Based on her work during the COVID response, she is nationally recognized as a leader in risk communications, misinformation, and building public trust through public health communication and outreach. Dr. Henderson has had multiple speaking engagements where she outlined the communication strategy for the District and how her team focused on combatting misinformation. In May 2022, Dr. Henderson and her team developed the District’s communications strategy and successfully led communication efforts for the mpox public health occurrence.

In February 2023, Dr. Henderson was officially installed as the Vice President of the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). As a member of the board, she has been able to work collaboratively with colleagues across the country to improve public health information and identify resources needed for communicators in the post-pandemic communication landscape.

Prior to joining DC Health, she served nine years as a Senior Strategic Communications Specialist with Booz Allen Hamilton, where she directly supported federal clients with planning, implementation, and evaluation of communication and outreach efforts for health, well-being, and employment initiatives. She also led several efforts on behalf of both civil and military health clients to reach a variety of stakeholders, including healthcare providers, policy makers, beneficiaries, service members, veterans, and the general public.

Dr. Henderson has also used her communications, health disparities, and public health knowledge, experiences, and skills in the classroom. She served as an Associate Professor for the Master of Public Health Program and Assistant Professor in the Doctoral Communication Program and Department of Family and Community Medicine at Howard University; an Instructor in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University; and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University.

Dr. Henderson received her Doctor of Philosophy in Mass Communications with a Health Communication focus from Howard University, a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Dillard University.

James Dinkins, MBA Chief People Officer

James Dinkins is the Chief People Officer for the Harris County Public Health System. James has over 23 years of solid Human Resources experience, and is committed to organizational performance.

James is responsible for innovative HR strategies, workforce development, executive coaching, organizational development, employment law, talent acquisition, employee engagement & retention, learning & development, change management, and diversity & Inclusion.

Prior to joining Harris County, James held Human Resources leadership positions at McKesson and Hospital Corporation of America.

James holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Bachelor of Business Management.

James is an Advocate for those with Special Needs. He works closely with local, state and federal officials to improve and enrich the life of those living with Special Needs. 

Robert Brannon, MBA Chief Financial Officer

Robert joins us with 15 years of experience in government finance and accounting at the state, city, and county levels. Most recently, he served as Deputy Finance Director at the Harris County Resources for Children and Adults (HCRCA) department. During his time with HCRCA, he revamped numerous program services, including foster children clothing vouchers, adult ward expenditures, gift card and prepaid card processing to improve efficiency, tracking, and increase volume.

Prior to that, Robert served as CFO at the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA), which is the New Mexico state’s bond bank. Under his leadership, the NMFA was a three-time successful allocatee of over $200 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits, generating thousands of jobs in New Mexico as well as rehabilitating historic buildings and contributing towards downtown redevelopment efforts in several metros. In addition, the NMFA was able to achieve a AAA bond rating from Moody’s and a AAA from S&P during his tenure lowering the cost of capital for New Mexico equipment and infrastructure.

Robert is a native Houstonian, who earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management from George Washington University, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Temple University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of New Mexico.

Michael W. “Mac” McClendon Director - Public Health Preparedness & Response Division

Biosketch

Welcome to the Public Health Preparedness and Response Division (PHPRD)!

Harris County Public Health (HCPH) is the primary agency responsible for protecting the public’s health in the event of a widespread public health emergency within Harris County. A public health emergency is defined as an immediate threat from a naturally occurring or intentional event that poses a high risk of fatalities or serious long-term disability to large numbers of people.

Within HCPH, PHPRD works with numerous jurisdictional partners, emergency responders, private and public sectors, NGO’s, and volunteer organizations to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the effects of emerging infectious diseases, pandemics, chemical, biological/radiological emergencies along with other non-specific public health emergencies.

PHPRD maintains plans, standard operating guides (SOG’s) and supporting documents that guide preparedness, mitigation, and response activities. PHPRD actively engages both our employees and volunteer support partners in training through classroom sessions, drills, and exercises to help plan and prepare for public health emergencies.

For more information about the Public Health Preparedness and Response Division, please call (713) 439-6179.

Email: [email protected]

Rohish Lal, MPH Director - Office of Communications, Education, & Engagement

Rohish is the director of the Office of Communications, Education, and Engagement (OCEE) for Harris County Public Health. This office educates, engages, and empowers Harris County community members by providing accurate, practical, relevant information for internal and external stakeholders to make well-informed health decisions. OCEE oversees public information, government legislative affairs, event planning, and community-wide outreach and engagement.

Rohish has 13 years of experience in the public health field with extensive experience in government relations, including federal and state advocacy, as well as many years conducting media relations and community engagement for local government.

Before HCPH, Rohish was at the Sonoma County Department of Health Services where he served as the Legislative Policy and External Affairs officer, and Public Information Officer. Prior to that, he was Assistant Public Information Officer with the California Health and Human Services Agency, which oversees 12 departments and five offices that provide a range of health care services, social services, mental health services, alcohol and drug services, income assistance, and public health services.

Rohish received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University and his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from California State University, Northridge.

Scott Jeansonne, MELP Director – Environmental Public Health

Originally from New Orleans, Scott has lived in the greater Houston area for the past 25 years and has been employed by Harris County Public Health since 2009. In that time, he has served in a variety of roles from Compliance & Environmental Programs Manager for the Environmental Public Health Division (EPH) to co-lead of the Surveillance, Science and Data Brach during the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently Scott has served as the Associate Director of Harris County Public Health’s COVID-19 Division.

Scott is a graduate of Texas State University and Vermont Law School, while recently obtaining a Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt from the University of Houston. Scott is currently a member of Harris County Public Health’s, Public Health Incident Support Team (PHIST) as well as a member of Harris County Public Health’s Ethics Committee. Away from Public Health Scott serves as a member of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Natural Resources Advisory Committee and is also a member of several wildlife conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, the Texas Coastal Conservation Association and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Jennifer Kiger, MPH, LSSBB Director - Office of Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Emerging Diseases

Jennifer Kiger is Director of the Office of Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Emerging Diseases (OESED) for Harris County Public Health. Jennifer received her Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, TX. She started her Public Health career as an epidemiologist investigator and preparedness specialist for the City of Houston Health Department. Then she worked at the Association of Schools of Public Health in Washington, D.C. as a Program Manager for the Centers for Public Health Preparedness. In 2007, she returned to Texas to work for the Department of State Health Services. She spent over 7 years working at the state and regional offices working in the public health preparedness field serving various roles including liaison, Strategic National Stockpile coordinator, Preparedness Planner, and Regional Public Health Preparedness Manager. Jennifer has held command roles in several responses including Hurricane Ike, H1N1, TX West Nile Response, and Texas Wildfires 2010, Harris County Flooding events in 2015 &2016, Hurricane Harvey 2017, and ITC Chemical Fire 2019.

Ericka Brown, MD, MBA, FACHE Director – Community Health and Wellness Division

Dr. Ericka Brown, MD, MBA, FACHE, serves as our Division Director for Community Health and Wellness Division (CHWD) and Deputy Local Health Authority (LHA). Prior to joining HCPH, Dr. Brown worked most recently as the Program Manager for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), where she oversaw the Public Health and Safety/COVID-19 Response for the department.  She was also responsible for developing and facilitating efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Texas’ largest county jail.

Before joining HCSO, Dr. Brown served as Chief Operating Officer at Harris Health System, one of the largest public health systems on the country. She previously served as the CEO of Ben Taub Hospital – Level One Trauma Center and is the former CEO of Ambulatory Services and its 41 primary care and specialty clinics.

Dr. Brown has served on numerous boards, including America’s Essential Hospitals Institute Board of Directors, Avenue 360 Federally Qualified Health Center Board of Directors, and America’s Essential Hospitals Essential Women’s Leadership Mentor program. She was awarded the Texas Executive Women’s Woman on the Move Award in 2018, and most recently joined the board of Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston.

She holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Temple University, a medical degree from Rush Medical College, an MBA from Texas Women’s University, and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Lupe Washington Director - Community Health and Violence Prevention Services

Ms. Washington serves as our Division Director for Community Health and Violence Prevention Services (CHVPS).  Prior to joining HCPH, Ms. Washington served as the Assistant Executive Director for Brazos County Juvenile Services for over seven years, whose agency charge is to rehabilitate youths, and includes providing behavioral health and medical services as well as diversion programs for at-risk youth. She was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department and had direct supervision of seven directors.

At Brazos County Ms. Washington led services that focused on addressing root causes and increasing rehabilitation. These programs include the Services to Address Recidivism Unit, the Recidivism Reduction Program, and the Youth Advocate Program, which provides wraparound services to address the Social Determinants of Health for youths and their families.

Prior to her service with Brazos County, Ms. Washington worked at the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HJPD) for over 16 years, where she began her career as Juvenile Probation Officer. Throughout her tenure at HJPD, she also served as Intensive Supervision Officer, Gang Supervision Officer, Supervisor/Agency Representative, Court Administrator and Administrator of Public Affairs and Information. It is in these positions that she learned the importance of restorative justice and holistic approaches to healing trauma that often are the underlying causes of violence.

Ms. Washington earned her Master of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) and her Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies and Psychology from Mount Holyoke College. Among her professional and community involvement, Ms. Washington serves as Co-Chair of the Registration Committee for the Texas Probation Association and as Board Secretary of POWER on Heels Fund, Inc. (a nonprofit organization that focuses on advancing Latinas in their professional and economic growth). She is also a founding member of the Professional Society of Criminal Justice Students at UHD.

Ms. Washington’s leadership and experience working in the field with populations the CHVPS aims to serve will help our department provide holistic solutions to reduce gun violence and amplify public health and safety in our communities.

Jamie Hughes, DNP, RN, NE-BC Director - ACCESS

Jamie joined us after serving in various leadership roles at Harris County Health System for over 17 years. Most recently, she served as Associate Administrator of Clinical Integration and Transition.

Jamie also has more than 12 years of experience facilitating and supporting innovative system-wide strategies to improve the health of our community. Her previous experience includes oversight of ambulatory clinical care management, same-day clinic sites, ambulatory nutrition services, patient-centered medical home, house calls service, Remote Blood Pressure Monitoring Program, DSRIP, and several population health programs. Her previous focus areas have been to develop business strategies emphasizing wellness, disease prevention, disease management, and acute care intervention while incorporating clinical integration and technology. 

Jamie has presented in several national conferences, co-authored an article in a peer-reviewed journal focusing on multidisciplinary diabetes care, and is a member of the Education Committee for America's Essential Hospitals. She holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Executive Leadership from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and a bachelor's degree in nursing from The University of Texas at Austin.

Beyond her credentials, Jamie has received several honors and awards, such as National Finalist in Excellence in Executive Leadership from Nurse.com, Honorable Mention- Safety Idea of the Year from Ideas of America, and Bronze Winner in Excellence in Executive Leadership with the Good Samaritan Foundation. Jamie loves to cook and bake, travel, attend jazz festivals, and spend time with her family in her spare time.

Jamie's expertise, leadership, and experience will surely boost ACCESS Harris County's endeavor to provide a variety of integrated and accessible services to vulnerable populations in the community.

Alexey Gruber, MS Director - Office of Operations and Technology Services

Before joining Harris County Public Health (HCPH) in 2014, Alexey held several leadership positions focusing on Operations, Logistics and Technology, with various companies throughout the Greater Houston area, and served as Logistics Chief during the COVID-19 response.

A native from Odessa, Ukraine, who moved to the Houston area with his family in 2001, Alexey received his master’s degree in Sports Science and Management from the National University of Ukraine.

Maximea “Max” Vigilant DrPH, MPH Director - Mosquito and Vector Control Division

Dr. Vigilant joined HCPH in 2002 and has served in various leadership roles at MVC for 20 years before taking the interim role at the Veterinary Public Health (VPH) Division in July of 2022.

He is a nationally renowned expert in the mosquito and vector control field having been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine discussing the effects of climate change on mosquito-borne illnesses and what we need to do to keep our communities safe. He has approximately 40 years of distinguished professional experience within public health.

Dr. Vigilant served as Technical Operations Manager at MVC before moving to VPH. Prior to that, he served as Interim Director and as Interim Technical Operations Branch Manager for MVC.

Before joining HCPH, Dr. Vigilant served as Environmental Health Officer for the Commonwealth of Dominica from 1983 to 2002.  He earned his Doctor of Public Health and Master of Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health, as well as his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from Texas Southern University.

As Interim Director of VPH, Dr. Vigilant has led several organizational improvements to shelter operations at Harris County Pets (HCP). These accomplishments include: maintaining a live release rate of 95% in 2023, reorganization of VPH structure to increase efficiency and improve workflows, improved animal feed supply by transitioning to a new program that better supports the health of the animals and minimizes unhygienic conditions of the shelter, developed and implemented a euthanasia notification procedure which provides consistent notifications to rescue groups of animals that are at risk in the shelter, developed a new community-based spay/neuter program that offers its services to underserved areas among many other operational improvements at VPH.

Corey Steele Director - Veterinary Public Health Division

Corey previously served as the Associate Director of Veterinary Public Health, and prior to that Corey served as the Field Operations Manager at the Mosquito and Vector Control (MVC) Division

Corey joined our department in 2007 as an Animal Control Officer at VPH and has taken on several positions throughout his career at HCPH. He was promoted as the division’s Field Supervisor from 2009 to 2014 and then became the Field Operations Manager in the following years, prior to his move to MVC in 2021

Corey earned his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Colorado State University.

Brandon Maddox, MS, PMP Director – Office of Planning and Innovation

Most recently, Brandon has been serving as the Associate Director of OPI since June 2022. Brandon joined the OPI team during its origination in June 2021 and has been with Harris County Public Health (HCPH) for over nine years.

Brandon is a native Houstonian who earned his Master of Science in Analytics from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Houston-Downtown.

During his time at HCPH, Brandon earned his Project Management Professional and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certifications and has been involved in numerous public health projects.