Richard Whitley was appointed Director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in June 2015 by then-Governor Brian Sandoval, and re-appointed to the position in 2019 by Governor Steve Sisolak.
As DHHS Director, Whitley oversees the six divisions that provide both direct services and public assistance programs for Nevadans in need: Aging and Disability Services, Child and Family Services, Health Care Financing and Policy (Medicaid), Public and Behavioral Health, Welfare and Supportive Services, and the state Public Defender. The efforts of DHHS comprise nearly one-third the entire state budget.
Whitley began state service as the senior psychologist for the Nevada Women’s Correctional Facility in 1986. He joined DHHS in 1997 within the Health Division’s Bureau of Disease Control and Intervention Services. Whitley held several positions within the Health Division before being asked to serve as its administrator in 2008. His responsibilities expanded in 2012 when he was asked to also serve as administrator for the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services. The two divisions officially merged in 2013, and Whitley became the first administrator of the newly created Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
Whitley holds a Bachelor’s degree from Willamette University, in Oregon, and a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Western Oregon University.