Former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

Estelle Richman is the former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. She recently retired as senior advisor to the secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for health and human services issues. While at HUD, she held the positions of chief operating officer and acting deputy secretary, overseeing goal setting and outcomes measurement for all major departments as well as authority of regional offices.

Prior to joining HUD, Ms. Richman dedicated more than 30 years to public service at the state and local levels. She was appointed secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare in 2003, a position she held for seven years. Ms. Richman also served as the managing director for the City of Philadelphia and director of social services as well as Philadelphia’s commissioner of public health and deputy commissioner for mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services.

Ms. Richman has been honored for advocacy efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association, among others. She is the recipient of the 1998 Ford Foundation/Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government and the 1999 Innovations in American Government award from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

She received her master’s degree from Cleveland State University and has honorary doctorates from Alvernia University and Drexel University.