Dr. Courtney N. Phillips started as the new executive commissioner for the Health and Human Services system on Oct. 19.

“I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead Texas’ efforts to help people in need,” Dr. Phillips said. ”Social services across the country face new challenges, and we’re going to put Texas at the forefront of meeting them.”

Phillips most recently served as chief executive officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“Dr. Phillips’ vast experience in health and human services makes her an ideal person to fill this role," said Gov. Greg Abbott.

The Texas HHS system consists of two agencies, the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services. The agencies directly serve millions of Texans each year and are focused on improving the lives of all the citizens of the Lone Star State.

As the head of the largest department in Nebraska’s state government, she was responsible for the divisions of Behavioral Health, Children and Family Services, Developmental Disabilities, Medicaid and Long-Term Care, and Public Health, as well as agency operations.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a Master of Public Administration from Louisiana State University, and a Ph.D. in public policy from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.