Carrie Rheingans to join Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

After eight years of service to the Washtenaw Health Initiative–convening community partners to address local health needs and contributing to dozens of research and action plans–Carrie Rheingans will step down on February 14 to work with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on important substance use related work.

Rheingans will serve as project director of a $3.45 million, 18-month grant to assess capacity and recommend state and federal Medicaid policy changes to improve Michigan’s substance use disorder treatment and recovery services for Medicaid enrollees. 

She will oversee the project and help the state understand the use of and need for SUD treatment and recovery services, where additional SUD services are required, how many additional providers are needed, and which provider types are required to address system needs, and specific strategies–including policy changes–that can be used to increase the number of patients current providers can serve. 

Michigan is one of 15 states that has received funding from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct this type of capacity assessment under the U.S. Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act of 2018. After 18 months, CMS will select at least five states to implement proposed policy changes and address capacity gaps reflected in the assessment.

Rheingans will work closely with Kara Zivin, University of Michigan professor of psychiatry and principal investigator for the grant award, as well as the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation. Among many other grant responsibilities, Rheingans and the project team will convene, coordinate, and lead conversations with external stakeholders–including key focus populations like expecting mothers, adolescents and young adults, American Indians, rural communities, and justice-involved residents–to drive the work. 

“We thank Carrie for all her hard work in getting the WHI where it is today and we wish her the best in her future work at MDHHS,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips.

WHI members are encouraged to join us for cake and conversation to celebrate Carrie’s new role after the Washtenaw Health Initiative stakeholders meeting on February 13. And after the meeting, members are welcome to join us at Bigalora for a more personal sendoff event. Please RSVP to Erin Spanier at