(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced transitions of executive leadership in the cabinet. The Mayor made the announcement at the Centers of Excellence (COE) at Howard University. The Centers of Excellence are a partnership between DC Government and Howard University. The five centers, which focus on improving access to care and health equity in DC, include: Behavioral Health COE, Oral Health COE, Sickle Cell COE, Trauma and Violence Prevention COE, and Women’s Health COE.
Dr. Ayanna Bennett, Acting Director – Department of Health (DC Health)
Dr. Ayanna Bennett is appointed Acting Director of the Department of Health (DC Health). Dr. Bennett is a healthcare and public health executive with more than 20 years of experience in clinical practice, clinical service design, system integration, and quality improvement. Dr. Bennett most recently served as Chief Health Equity Officer and Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity, where she focused on quality improvements and sustaining systemic change through policy improvement. Dr. Bennett joined the San Francisco Department of Public Health in 2016 as the inaugural Director of Interdivisional Initiatives, where she supported initiatives that combined the resources of the department, such as research, education, community engagement, and health care delivery. Her work included a focus on long-term population-based initiatives like the Black African American Health Initiative, which sought to address the health disparities of San Francisco’s African American residents. During her tenure at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Dr. Bennett also worked as a part-time clinician, while maintaining a private pediatric practice in the East Bay. In 2004, Dr. Bennett began working with community members to establish the 3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic in Bayview, California, where she served as Medical Director and then Executive Director until 2016. Dr. Bennett holds a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, a Master of Science from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate of medicine and pediatric residency from the University of California, San Francisco.
Sam Abed, Acting Director – Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS)
Sam Abed is appointed Acting Director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). Director Abed has decades of experience in public sector administration and expertise in leading juvenile justice programs. He most recently served as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services from 2011 to 2023, where he was responsible for the management and operation of the state’s juvenile justice system, including support services, operations, intake, probation supervision, detention, and treatment of committed youth in 11 youth centers throughout Maryland. Director Abed chaired the Maryland Juvenile Justice Reform Council, a role in which he was charged with identifying and making recommendations to mitigate risk factors that contribute to juvenile contact with the justice system. In 2014, the National Research Council appointed Director Abed to the Committee on a Prioritized Plan to Implement a Developmental Approach in Juvenile Justice Reform. Director Abed previously served as the Chief Deputy Director of Operations at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice from 2006 to 2010. Director Abed holds a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a law degree from T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond.