Shropshire an excellent choice for DHS Director (Capitol Update)

Gov. Kevin Stitt made an outstanding appointment of Dr. Deborah Shropshire as the new Director of the Department of Human Services. The top DHS job had been filled by Samantha Galloway on an interim basis since Justin Brown resigned last August. Galloway was chief of staff and a deputy director of DHS during Brown’s administration of the agency. Brown continues as the governor’s Secretary of Human Services.

Gov. Stitt, when first elected, brought in Justin Brown from the private sector as Director of DHS. Brown had been CEO of Choice Capital Partners, an ownership group for a chain of senior living facilities. Brown appointed Dr. Shropshire as Director of Child Welfare Services, probably the most stressful job in the agency. Director of Child Welfare is practically a 24/7 job making difficult and risky decisions about child safety and removal. 

Dr. Shropshire is a down-to-earth, self-effacing physician who sometimes likes to say, tongue-in-cheek, that she became a pediatrician even though she doesn’t like kids. So, she became an administrator. She has an extensive background in state government having served both with DHS and as faculty at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Prior to being appointed Director of Child Welfare Services in 2019, Dr. Shropshire served in many DHS roles including Medical Director for Child Welfare Services and Deputy Director of Child Welfare Community Partnerships. She was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the OU College of Medicine. From 2001 to 2015, she was also medical director at the former Pauline E. Mayer Children’s Shelter and helped develop the Fostering Hope Clinic for children in foster care, reviewed individual cases with child welfare caseworkers, helped develop policy and caseworker training, and served on the Special Review Committee on child abuse and neglect deaths.

It is gratifying to see Dr. Shropshire, after years of service to Oklahoma’s families and children, take the reins at DHS. She’s had experience both hands-on and in policy and management. She is a uniquely qualified appointment at DHS by Gov. Stitt.   


Steve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1990. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol.

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