Grace Hong Duffin named as Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services

Governor Pat Quinn today named Grace Hong Duffin as Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS).

Hong Duffin has served as the department's Chief of Staff since 2009. She replaces Michelle R. B. Saddler who left the post this week when Governor Quinn named her as his new Chief of Staff.

"Grace Hong Duffin has been a faithful public servant to the people of Illinois, working to help our most vulnerable residents," said Governor Quinn. "As the helm of DHS, she will oversee the many important programs that low-income families throughout the state depend on every day."

Born in South Korea, Hong Duffin immigrated to the United States in 1975. She was raised in the Chicago area and received a Bachelor of Science in human development and social policy from Northwestern University and a Juris Doctorate from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. She also earned her Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

"I look forward to working closely with Governor Quinn and his administration to provide effective and efficient services for vulnerable Illinoisans," said Acting Secretary Hong Duffin. "We will continue to look for ways to meet the current budget challenges while maintaining quality human services for those we serve."

Hong Duffin spent eight years working as an assistant state's attorney in the office of Cook County State's Attorney Richard A. Devine. She has also previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor for the Governor's Office and Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Grace Hou was recently named to the position of Acting Secretary of DHS and declined for personal reasons. Hou will remain Assistant Secretary for Programs at DHS, a position she has held since 2003. Prior to joining DHS, Hou was the Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, a nonprofit social service agency that serves Chinese immigrants and refugees. Hou has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and is pursuing a Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Governor Quinn rounded out the DHS leadership team by naming Matthew Hammoudeh as Assistant Secretary for Operations. Hammoudeh previously worked as Acting General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor at the Illinois Department of Central Management Services where he assisted with DHS and other agencies with implementing accountability and fiscal initiatives that resulted in millions of dollars in savings for the state and significant improvements in agency operations. He has a Master's degree in biology from the University of Illinois and a Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law.