BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday appointed health care executive Christopher D. Jones to lead the Department of Human Services (DHS), putting a proven strategic planner in charge of North Dakota’s largest state agency.
Jones will bring 19 years of experience in health service operations, strategy, technology and consulting to his new role as DHS Executive Director. He will officially join the department and the governor’s cabinet on Feb. 27.
Jones is currently a division senior vice president of strategy and business development for Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), an enterprise with more than $15 billion in annual revenue and over 100 hospitals across 18 states, including CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck.
“Chris Jones possesses the leadership experience and strategic planning skills that we need as the Department of Human Services adjusts to budget constraints and growing demand for social services,” Gov. Burgum said. “His input and expertise will be crucial as we work to reinvent DHS and all of state government to make it more efficient and responsive to taxpayers.”
A graduate of Bismarck Century High School, Jones earned his undergraduate degrees in health care administration and Scandinavian studies from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and his master of business administration degree from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.
Prior to his current role as senior vice president, he spent several years as a manager, director and analyst in CHI’s Strategy and Business Development function and worked as a consultant for Allina Health System and Vizient.
Jones is active in community health, serving as a board member of the Bismarck Cancer Center and Bismarck-Mandan Face It Together, an initiative that engages various stakeholders and sectors to fight drug and alcohol addiction. He most recently chaired the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce’s subcommittee on behavioral health.
“My professional and personal experience working with large health care systems and smaller community organizations has given me a broad perspective on the human service needs of North Dakotans, and I will strive to ensure that DHS meets those demands to better the lives of everyone in our state,” Jones said.
The Department of Human Services employs about 2,200 people across North Dakota and has a two-year budget of more than $3.5 billion, making it the largest state agency in terms of both budget and employees. The department operates eight regional human service centers, as well as the Life Skills and Transition Center in Grafton and the State Hospital in Jamestown.
Services provided by DHS include aging services, behavioral health services, children and family services, developmental disability services, child support, economic assistance, medical services and vocational rehabilitation.
Maggie Anderson, interim executive director, will transition to the critical role of DHS Medical Services Director overseeing the Medicaid division. Burgum is deeply grateful for her leadership and continued commitment to serve North Dakota.