February 27, 2019

The Texas Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Dr. Courtney N. Phillips as Health and Human Services executive commissioner for a term set to expire Feb. 1, 2021.

Gov. Greg Abbott selected Phillips to lead the HHS system and she was confirmed by senators on Feb. 27. She oversees more than 40,000 employees who directly serve more than 7 million Texans a month and indirectly affect nearly every person in the state.

“I can say that we have a strong foundation of dedicated people, and when you have that, you can make great things happen,” Phillips said during her confirmation hearing. “Our team members are our greatest asset.”

She’s the first woman to be appointed HHS executive commissioner in Texas. She has served in the role since Oct. 19 after serving as chief executive officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for three-and-a-half years.

Phillips, who originally set out to be a physical therapist, worked her way up from an internship in Medicaid management at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to head of Nebraska’s largest state agency.

A Louisiana native, she holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s in public administration from Louisiana State University. She also has a Ph.D. in public policy from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.