Executive Team Bios

Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake

Karen Timberlake returned to the Department of Health Services in January 2021, after 10 years away from government service. She most recently worked at Michael Best Strategies, supporting initiatives in health care and human services transformation. Before that, she directed the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, worked to ensure higher quality health care at a lower cost with the Wisconsin Health Information Organization, and was an Assistant Attorney General with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. She served as Secretary at DHS from 2008-2010, guiding Wisconsin through the H1N1 pandemic virus response.

Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk

Julie Willems Van Dijk most recently served as the Director of County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a national collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, providing data, evidence, and guidance to over 3,000 counties who are building a culture of health. Prior to joining the Institute, she was the Marathon County Public Health Officer and served on the boards of Aspirus Wausau Hospital and Bridge Community Health Clinic, and as an elected member of the Wausau School District Board of Education. Willems Van Dijk earned a PhD in nursing from the University of WI-Milwaukee and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Assistant Deputy Secretary T.R. Williams

T.R. Williams was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After working in New York City’s educational non-profit arena, she decided to return home to attend the University of Wisconsin Law School. Williams has practiced family law and criminal defense law in the non-profit and government sectors. After some time in the formal practice of law and education, Williams shifted her professional focus to policy advocacy and health care. She later joined the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association as its Government Relations and Advocacy Specialist. Williams considers advocacy an art form that allows one to bridge the gap between current reality and aspired reality. Williams joins the Department of Health Services after serving as the Deputy Director of External Affairs in the Office of Governor Evers.

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Last Revised: September 14, 2021