Thursday, January 11, 2024 - 10:00am

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the appointment of former Texas Health and Human Services executive Wayne Salter to lead the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), citing his more than 25 years of experience and leadership in human service programs, strategic planning and process improvement to better serve citizens. Salter will begin his role as HHS commissioner on Jan. 22.

Salter served as deputy executive commissioner of access and eligibility services for Texas Health and Human Services from September 2017 to June 2023, providing executive leadership to a workforce of more than 9,000 team members responsible for the administration of public assistance and community-based services and support programs. He previously served three years as associate commissioner for Texas HHS Access and Eligibility Services and 17 years with the Florida Department of Children and Families, including as deputy director of the Public Assistance Division. 

“Throughout his career, Wayne has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving the needs of vulnerable populations and ensuring that essential human services are delivered efficiently and effectively, and that experience will serve North Dakotans well,” Burgum said. “His skill at leading large organizations, his deep understanding of complex social support programs, and his dedication to harnessing technology and implementing innovative solutions will help drive HHS into the future. We look forward to him bringing his capable leadership to the outstanding team at HHS as we continue working to improve services, become the healthiest state in the nation and ensure we’re meeting the health and well-being needs of all North Dakotans.”

Salter earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Phoenix and is a graduate of the Florida Center for Public Management at Florida State University. 

“I am profoundly honored and grateful to Governor Burgum for the trust placed in me to serve the people of North Dakota as commissioner of North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services,” Salter said. “Together, we will steadfastly continue the mission to enhance the health and well-being of North Dakotans, with the shared commitment to making our state the healthiest in the nation.”

Burgum expressed his gratitude to HHS Deputy Commissioner Sara Stolt for her leadership as interim commissioner since Sept. 16, following the resignation of former commissioner Chris Jones. Stolt will remain as deputy commissioner of HHS.

The Department of Health and Human Services is state government’s largest agency, with an approved budget of over $5.7 billion, including federal funds, and a team of nearly 2,500 authorized FTEs.