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Home News Kathyleen Kunkel Confirmed as Cabinet Secretary
Paul Rhien
505-470-2290 Office

Kathyleen Kunkel Confirmed as Cabinet Secretary

February 4, 2019 - Public Relations - Information

Today, the New Mexico State Senate voted unanimously to confirm Kathyleen (Kathy) Kunkel as Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Kunkel was appointed as Secretary Designate by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham last month.

“I am pleased to have Kathy Kunkel lead our department of health," said New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. "Her depth of knowledge, previous successes and leadership in successfully operating and managing health care efforts within the department will advance our goal of providing the highest quality care possible to the people of New Mexico.”

Prior to her appointment, Kunkel has worked seven years across different areas of NMDOH, the most recent four as deputy director, overseeing the bureau of behavioral supports, regional offices, litigation management and supported employment at NMDOH’s Developmental Disabilities. There Kunkel developed a fair hearings bureau, and, as an attorney with a law degree from the University of New Mexico, she provided litigation support, developing legal strategy with the department and working on issues related to various settlements. Kunkel also created the community inclusion manager position, developing and supervising the coordinators and worked on promoting employment of young adults.

Under Kunkel’s leadership, the Department is committed to strengthening drug overdose prevention and continuing to improve health outcomes for all New Mexicans, improving rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, and teen births. Kunkel will also fight to address the waitlist for the Developmental Disabilities Waiver (DD Waiver) which provides services and supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In prior jobs at the department, Kunkel was both assistant general counsel and general counsel; she also worked as an assistant attorney general for the State of New Mexico from 2004-2007, focusing on administrative disciplinary hearings and rulemaking hearings as well as legislative analysis.

Kunkel worked eight years at the UNM Health Science Center, beginning as a pediatric social worker and ultimately becoming assistant director of care management services. There she learned firsthand about the health care needs of the people of New Mexico and the dedicated health care professionals who labor to serve them.

Kunkel has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the College of Mt. St. Joseph, as it was formerly called, and a master’s in social work from Michigan State University.


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Confirmada Kathyleen Kunkel como Secretaria de Gabinete