Chris Traylor
Executive Commissioner

Date: May 17, 2016
Contact: Bryan Black, 512-424-6951

HHSC Announces Two Additions to
Executive Leadership

AUSTIN – Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced Heather Griffith Peterson and Kara Crawford are joining the Health and Human Services’ executive leadership team.

“We are putting together a strong leadership team that will continue to move the Texas Health and Human Services system forward,” Commissioner Smith said. “Heather and Kara will bring excellent experience to the table to ensure our agencies deliver effective and efficient services to all Texans.”

Griffith Peterson will become the Chief Operating Officer for HHSC, providing leadership and strategic direction for the agency by planning, directing and coordinating the operations supporting the department’s centralized support services programs.
Crawford is slated to be the new Chief of Staff. She will plan and direct administrative and operational activities for the agency. She will also act as an advisor for the Executive Commissioner and Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner.

Griffith Peterson and Crawford will begin their tenure at HHSC on June 1.


Heather Griffith PetersonHeather Griffith Peterson is currently the director of policy research for the Texas A&M University System and previously served as chief financial officer for the Texas Department of Agriculture. She has spent her career in public financial management and agency operations, having held management positions for the city of Austin and for the city of Boston Trust Office. She served as a member of the Strike Force created in 2015 by Gov. Abbott which was tasked with conducting a review of management, contracting and operations within HHSC. Subsequently, the governor appointed her to serve as a member of the HHSC Transition Legislative Oversight Committee. Griffith Peterson received a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

Kara Crawford Kara Crawford currently is Senior Advisor for Health Budget and Policy in Gov. Abbott's office. Before working in the governor's office, Crawford accumulated several years of policy and appropriations experience in the Texas Legislature, including work on the Senate Finance Committee and Clerk of the Senate Administration Committee. She previously served as the Women's Health Coordinator at HHSC and also worked as a Senior Manager for Government Relations for a major health insurance company. Crawford has a master's degree in Public Administration from Texas State University.


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