4/6/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Employee Spotlight

Monday, April 6, 2020

Good morning, IDHS team:

I offer my continued gratitude for your dedication to our mission and communities that rely on us for daily support.

Though the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, your work right now is saving lives. By being a compassionate ear and helping others access essential services, the most vulnerable amongst us are not left to fight alone.

Across IDHS, we are made up of passionate and fearless leaders who often go unrecognized. Our commitments to our communities, and, to each other, bond us during these traumatic times. To highlight the spirit that lives within all of us at our agency, I am pleased to share another Bright Spot in our IDHS community. Bright Spots are staff in our system who serve as champions in moving our mission forward.

Honoree: Meredith Kiss (Deputy Director, Hospital Operations)

With more than 20 years of experience in public service, Meredith leads and coordinates the seven state operated hospitals and their clinical operations. Diagnosed with bilateral severe hearing loss, Meredith began her career as a social worker by assisting deaf and hard of hearing individuals at Chicago-Read before a series of continued promotions, including serving as the Health Administrator for both Chicago-Read and Elgin Mental Health Care Centers.

For Meredith and her team, the impact of COVID-19 has brought on endless research for best policies and procedures to protect employees, temperature checkpoints, a redesigned intake screening process, and a never-ending search for PPE to protect frontline staff. Meredith and her team are also working to ensure that patients are properly educated before returning home and ensuring that community resources are in place before releasing patients.

Meredith Fun Facts:

  • Meredith is married and has three children
  • Favorite Quote: "Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle"
  • Favorite Podcast: Wrongful Conviction"
  • First plan after social distancing: Attend son's baseball game
  • Thank Yous: Central Team office, Health Administrators, and frontline staff

Thank you, Meredith, for all of your leadership.

Thank you,


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS