Secretary, Executive Office of Health of Human Services

Secretary Charest Headshot

In May of 2023, Richard Charest, R.Ph, MBA was appointed by Governor Daniel McKee and confirmed by the Rhode Island State Senate as Secretary of the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Prior to his appointment, he served as Director of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (BHDDH).

Mr. Charest has more than 30 years' experience in the health care arena. He also has extensive turn-around experience, having led not-for-profit and for-profit community hospitals with specialty programs, a for-profit specialty hospital, and a private equity healthcare company.

Previously serving as President and CEO of Landmark Medical Center, Mr. Charest successfully led hospital operations and finances through receivership, reassured the community and engaged employees and medical staff to ensure uninterrupted high-quality care. He also served as President and CEO of the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island and held several executive leadership positions with Landmark Medical Center.

Mr. Charest is adamant that everyone who needs services provided by EOHHS, and the agencies under its umbrella, receive steadfast and exceptional care.


EOHHS Acting Secretary Ana Novais

Assistant Secretary, Executive Office of Health of Human Services

Ana P. Novais currently serves as the Assistant Secretary for the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services. She holds a Clinical Psychology degree from UCLN, Belgium, and is a graduate from the Northeastern Public Health Leadership Institute, University of Albany, NY and Leadership RI. Ana’s career in Public Health started in 1985 in Cape Verde and includes 5 years in Portugal and since 1995 in the US.

Ana worked for the Rhode Island Department of Health starting in 1998, as an Education and Outreach Coordinator focusing on children health issues, and later, as the Minority Health Coordinator, charged with assuring the Department addressed the health needs of the racial and ethnic minority communities of RI. In 2006, as Executive Director of Health, Ana led the department efforts to achieve health equity by focusing in the areas of Health Disparities and Access to Care, Chronic Disease Management and Prevention, Environmental Health, and Maternal and Child Health; In 2015 Ana was charged with implementing the Department Strategic Priorities and assuring the alignment of resources and operations with the strategic priorities. In July 2016, Ana assumed the role of Deputy Director of Health.

Ana has developed and implemented various programs and initiatives that have received recognition both at the state and national level. Among them “Vaccinate Before You Graduate” an initiative aimed at improving vaccination rates among adolescents and the “Rhode Island Health Equity Framework” a plan of action for achieving health equity at the state and at local level through the “Health Equity Zones” initiative (HEZ). Both programs have been recognized as a best practice and are currently being implemented in other cities and states.

Ana was born in Cabo Verde, and her roots are in Portugal (mother) and Angola (father). Ana is fluent in Creole, Portuguese, French, Spanish and English. A proud mother of 4 adult children and grandmother of 5 beautiful young children, Ana loves spending time with her family, travel, reading, photography and gardening.