County Administrator Tanya Ange appointed Mjere Simantel to be director of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after a nationwide recruitment and competitive selection process. Simantel has been serving over the last 14 months as the interim director of HHS.
Prior to taking on that interim role, Simantel had been serving as the department’s assistant director since November 2018. Before that, she was the supervisor for Washington County Disability, Aging and Veteran Services (DAVS).
Prior to joining Washington County in January 2017, Simantel spent nearly eight years at Willamette View, a continuing care retirement community located in Portland, ultimately serving in the role of health care services administrator. She also spent several years with Clackamas Education Service District in various roles.
Simantel earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from Portland State University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan.
“Mjere is an outstanding public servant who has contributed significantly to the Washington County community during the challenges of the pandemic and the ongoing crisis around houselessness and housing affordability,” said Ange. “Through it all, she has advanced the mission and vision of her department for health and equity, but she has done so with an eye toward the interconnections across our multifaceted organization, a multidisciplinary approach supporting an organizational vision we call ‘One Washington County.’ I’m thrilled with Mjere’s appointment and her continued leadership in our organization.”
“I am honored to serve in this executive leadership role,” said Simantel. “Each day I am inspired by the passion and dedication of our staff, and I am committed to ensuring that the needs and priorities of communities most impacted by racial inequities are centered in our policies and practices.”
Washington County HHS cares for people, animals and the environment. The department is supported by a budget of $164 million and is staffed by 397 full-time equivalent employees. For information on programs and services, visit www.washingtoncountyor.gov/HHS.