Randall W. Williams, MD, FACOG, Director
(573) 751-6001, Debbie Mebruer, Executive Assistant
The oversight for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services comes from the director, who is responsible for the management of the department and the administration of its programs and services.
The divisions of Administration, Community and Public Health, Regulation and Licensure, and Senior and Disability Services; State Public Health Laboratory, Offices of Public Information, General Counsel, Governmental Policy and Legislation report to the director.
A State Board of Health and State Board of Senior Services advise the director regarding the priorities, policies and programs of the department and review rules promulgated by the department. The boards each consist of seven members appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Missouri Senate.
Dr. Randall Williams Bio
Randall W. Williams, MD, FACOG, is an obstetrician and gynecologist who graduated from the University of North Carolina with Honors in History and Zoology and received his medical training at the University of North Carolina where he was a Holderness Fellow.
Dr. Williams was appointed as the Cabinet Director of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and was subsequently unanimously confirmed by the Missouri Senate on March 9, 2017. He believes a fundamental tenet of effective leadership is to be readily available and accessible. He has visited all of Missouri’s 115 counties to listen and learn from all of Missouri’s citizens.
DHSS accomplishments to date with Dr. Williams include the following:
- First major redesign of Missouri’s almost billion dollar Home Community Based Services and Consumer Directed Services programs since 1982 to reflect changes in care during that time period.
- First Opioid Emergency Response Center in Missouri created in conjunction with the City of St. Louis and multiple additional agencies to respond in real time to opioid overdoses, increasing availability of treatment and wraparound services.
- Passage of universal naloxone law under Dr. Williams’ DEA number, which provides universal access to naloxone and applies the Good Samaritan law that encourages people to seek emergency services in the event of an overdose by protecting them from prosecution.
- Organized a series of nine opioid summits throughout the state convening an average of about 400 community leaders at each summit to integrate local, state and federal partners’ efforts. Missouri’s opioid mortality rate increased by 35% between 2015 and 2016 and 4.7% between 2016 and 2017.
- Coordinated first ever Governor’s Rural Health Care Summit as part of Governor Mike Parson’s Health Care Week which focused on health priorities and involved site visits throughout Missouri by Governor Parson, Director Corsi of DSS, Director Stringer of DMH and Dr. Williams of DHSS.
- Oversaw alignment with University of Missouri School of Medicine on pilot project to build out rural based primary care residencies in Missouri.
- First real time review of maternal mortality—as opposed to historical review—by Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review Board and initiated application for national membership in the Alliance of Initiatives in Maternal Health in conjunction with Missouri Hospital Association.
- Startup of Constitutional Article XIV, a ballot initiative approved by two thirds of Missouri voters, creating a projected $500 million medical marijuana program in Missouri.
Dr. Williams’ efforts to improve the health of Missourians extend from the Capital to the classroom: in the spring of 2018, he co-taught a course in Public Service, Government and Public Health for the University of Missouri’s Master of Public Health program. Dr. Williams was selected by peers and presently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), which for the last 75 years has advocated for and been a leader in public health. According to available records, he is the first Missourian to serve in this capacity for ASTHO. In 2019, Dr. Williams was appointed as Chair of the Public Health Preparedness Policy Committee of ASTHO. The Committee provides a critical link with senior leadership of key federal agencies and programs in the preparedness, response, recovery and community resilience space.
Dr. Williams previously served as both the Deputy Secretary for Health and State Health Director in the Department of Health and Human Services in North Carolina. His responsibilities there included developing, integrating and communicating state health policy and helping lead a 17,000 member agency with a $20 billion budget that combined Medicaid, social services, public health and mental health services.
Dr. Williams has also previously served on local and state boards of health, in addition to delivering 2000 babies as a practicing obstetrician. He also helped serve the medical needs of people in overseas conflict zones. His ongoing work has taken him to Iraq 12 times, and he has worked in Afghanistan, Libya and Haiti. Recognition of these efforts was reflected in his selection as Triangle Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year and the Raleigh News & Observer’s Tar Heel of the Week.
He is an avid runner. Dr. Williams believes physical exercise contributes greatly to a sense of wellness and led a campaign to encourage families to participate in 5K runs for charity. He enjoys training for and running marathons and has run marathons in Boston, New York, Paris, Athens, Florence and Jerusalem.