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Michael Best Strategies partner Karen Timberlake to serve as DHS interim secretary

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Karen Timberlake

Karen Timberlake, a partner at Michael Best Strategies’ Madison office, will serve as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ interim secretary.

Timberlake replaces Andrea Palm, who has been nominated as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Biden Administration. Palm will depart DHS on Wednesday, and Timberlake will take over in the interim starting Jan. 25.

This isn’t Timberlake’s first time working for DHS. She served as the secretary of the agency from 2008 to 2011, under Gov. Jim Doyle. Her time in office included managing the department during its 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus response.

As a partner at Michael Best Strategies, Timberlake advises clients on public health, healthcare delivery, community investments and business development. Before joining Michael Best, she worked as the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute Director and an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Gov. Tony Evers said Timberlake brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that will be indispensable as the state continues distributing COVID-19 vaccines and fighting the pandemic.

Timberlake is looking forward to returning to DHS and working with Evers’ administration. She said the DHS’ top priority will be advocating for Wisconsin to receive its “fair share of vaccines” from the federal government and distributing the shots throughout the state as quickly as possible.

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