Dear IDHS team,
It is with great pleasure that I announce Dr. Maria Bruni as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Programs and Lori Simmons as the new Director of Labor Relations for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Dr. Bruni's knowledge of the agency is extensive and her experience with the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse spans across many programs. Ms. Simmons brings 28 years of experience with the Illinois Department of Humans Services to her new role as well as 11 years of labor specific experience.
Dr. Maria Bruni, Assistant Secretary, Programs
Dr. Bruni has served as the Acting Director at the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA) since February, 2016. During her time in this role, Dr. Bruni has been deeply involved with the State's efforts to transform the behavioral health system of care. She has worked closely on Illinois' Medicaid 1115 Demonstration Waiver and Medicaid State Plan Amendments, which are both directed at expanding and enhancing the services available for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. Dr. Bruni previously served as the Deputy Director responsible for DASA's planning, performance measurement and quality assurance activities since 2010. She worked on the design and implementation of a system for performance-based contracting and for overseeing the state's strategic planning process for substance use disorder treatment in Illinois. She has worked on the administration of numerous federally-funded treatment and infrastructure building grants, as well as the Illinois Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant. Prior to her role as Deputy Director, Dr. Bruni served as the Project Evaluator for DASA's Illinois State Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Coordination (IL-SAC) grant which examined infrastructure changes in the state's treatment system, including the use of evidence-based practices in treating adolescents with substance use disorders. Dr. Bruni earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.
Lori Simmons, Director of Labor Relations
Ms. Simmons has worked for the Illinois Department of Human Services and the former Illinois Department of Public Aid for over 28 years. She has most recently served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Prior to her role as Special Assistant, Ms. Simmons has held many labor related positions. From August, 2012 to May, 2015, she served as Assistant Bureau Chief of Labor Relations and from May, 2005 to August, 2012 she served as Labor Relations Liaison. During her time with Labor Relations, Ms. Simmons supervised Labor Relations liaison staff, represented the bureau in meetings for the divisions and CMS staff and stepped in as Director of Labor Relations in the absence of the Director. Ms. Simmons has been an integral part of collective bargaining agreements providing interpretation and guidance. She has also helped to interpret CMS personnel rules and IDHS policies for employees as well as coordinate and prepare written decisions for arbitration hearings.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Bruni and Ms. Simmons as they transition into their new roles effective immediately.