Dr. Jeff Coben to become Interim Secretary of DHHR; Dr. Marsh and Ret. Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer to become advisors

CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that he has received the retirement of West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch, effective December 31, 2022. He has agreed to remain at DHHR as an advisor until that time. His transition to advisor was effective Monday.

Gov. Justice also announced that effective Monday, Dr. Jeff Coben, Associate Vice President for Health Affairs & Dean of the West Virginia University School of Public Health, has been named Interim Secretary of DHHR.

Also effective Monday, Dr. Clay Marsh and Retired Major General Jim Hoyer, will become advisors to Gov. Justice and to DHHR on the implementation of the McChrystal Report and the leadership transition.

About Dr. Jeffrey Coben: Dr. Jeffrey Coben is currently the Associate Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Public Health at West Virginia University. He is a tenured professor with joint appointments in the Schools of Public Health and Medicine.

Dr. Coben has achieved international recognition for his accomplishments in the field of injury prevention and control. He is the only individual to ever serve as director of a CDC-supported injury control research center at two different academic institutions. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Commission Against Drunk Driving, the U.S. Office of Women’s Health Advisory Committee for Violence Against Women, and as Senior Scholar-in-Residence for Domestic Violence at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. His research and health improvement projects utilize clinical, epidemiological, and health services research methods.

Since joining West Virginia University in 2004, he has served as Director of the Center for Rural Emergency Medicine, Director of the Injury Control Research Center, Vice Chair for Research in Emergency Medicine, Associate Dean for Operations in the School of Medicine, and Associate Vice President for Clinical Innovations, Planning and Operations for the Health Sciences Center. He has also directed multiple statewide health improvement initiatives including several Medicaid Transformation grants and the West Virginia State Innovation Model Design award.

In 2017, Dr. Coben established the Office of Health Affairs (now the WVU Health Affairs Institute) with the goal of formalizing a state-university partnership between WVU and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR). Since that time the Institute has grown to include nearly 100 professional staff members who assist multiple bureaus and offices within DHHR and other health improvement organizations by providing expertise in health data analytics, large-scale program evaluation, project management and technical assistance.

Originally from Philadelphia, Dr. Coben is an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine. After graduation, he undertook residency training in emergency medicine and internal medicine at Northwestern University Medical Center. Since 1980, he has maintained continuous certification by both the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

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