The Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP) bids a fond farewell to its longtime Executive Director, Laval Miller-Wilson. He is leaving PHLP in early March to join the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) as the Deputy Secretary for the Office of Children Youth and Families (OCYF). The OCYF supervises the county-operated child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Laval is deeply committed and passionate about ensuring that vulnerable populations get the care they need and deserve. “I really look forward to working with DHS Secretary Arkoosh and others at DHS and travelling throughout the state to connect with the people providing and receiving services."
Laval has been PHLP’s Executive Director since 2009. At PHLP, he worked to make the health industry and policymakers more attuned to what people want and need—and held them accountable for making it happen. He served as lead counsel for the Consumer Subcommittee of Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance Advisory Committee, which advises the Commonwealth on the impact of current and proposed Medical Assistance (Medicaid) policies and practices and provides critical input from people who rely on this important program. He delivered consumer-informed perspective about the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act, performance of Medicaid managed care plans, and social determinants of health.
Leading OCYF will give Laval the chance to return to child welfare and juvenile justice. Prior to joining PHLP, Laval worked for 14 years at Juvenile Law Center (JLC) representing children in the child welfare, juvenile and criminal justice systems. At JLC he led their 2008 petition to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to ensure accused youth in Luzerne County had the right to counsel – this later became known as the “Kids for Cash” scandal. He also led federal litigation to improve the delivery of basic and special education to children in the criminal justice system.
PHLP is an organization that embraces change when it comes our way. Our ability to adapt to changing circumstances is one of the key components of our success. While PHLP staff will miss Laval’s energy and out-of-the box thinking as well as his support and guidance, we could not be prouder of all he has accomplished. We are extremely grateful for his leadership and wish him continued success in his new position.
PHLP staff look forward to honoring Laval’s legacy by continuing the commitment to our mission and service to our clients that others started and that he strengthened. PHLP’s Board of Directors has appointed two Co-Acting Executive Directors, who will lead PHLP during the transition: Danna Casserly, in our Philadelphia Office, and Erin Guay, in our Pittsburgh Office. Danna has been with PHLP since 2013. Erin has been with PHLP since 2004. Both will be supported by PHLP’s dedicated and knowledgeable staff as we continue delivering high-quality assistance and representation to our clients and community. In the coming months, PHLP’s Board of Directors will conduct a search for PHLP’s next Executive Director.