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Executive Team Bios

Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson

Kirsten Johnson has over 20 years of experience as a public health leader in complex local, state, national, and international organizations. She joins the administration after previously serving as the health commissioner for the city of Milwaukee following her appointment in January 2021. Prior to serving the city of Milwaukee, Kirsten led the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department for more than a decade as the director and health officer, overseeing the merger of the two counties’ health departments and later leading a multi-county pandemic response as well as various other public health and health equity initiatives. Kirsten has her master’s degree in public health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and holds certifications as a public health professional and certified education specialist. 

Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge

Deb Standridge has spent her career working in, improving, and leading health care systems, most recently serving as Regional President of the North Region of Ascension Wisconsin and Chief Executive Officer of Wisconsin’s Alternate Care Facility. Her professional focus has been on the strategic direction and operational management of hospitals in a diversity of communities, including her work at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s North Market. She is an award-winning advocate for health care systems and served on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

Assistant Deputy Secretary Sarah Valencia 

Sarah Valencia is a native of Wisconsin. Sarah’s professional experience includes working in health care administration, social work, non-profits, higher education, and local government. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree from Carroll University, she served two years in the United States Peace Corps in Honduras. After returning, she earned her master’s degree in social work from University of Wisconsin Madison, where she is currently a Long-Term Lecturer. Sarah worked as Director of Medical and Patient Services at Access Community Health Centers in Madison and most recently was the Director of Population Health and Addiction Services at UnityPoint Health-Meriter and Vice President of the UW Health Accountable Care Organization. She has served on numerous boards including non-profit and local government. 

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Last revised November 30, 2023