The World Food Prize Foundation

2023 Iowa Hunger Summit Speakers

Kelly Garcia

Director, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Praised for transformative leadership, Kelly Kennedy Garcia serves as the
Director of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Governor Kim Reynolds appointed Garcia to oversee the state’s social services
agency in November 2019. She was unanimously confirmed by the Iowa Senate on
February 26, 2020. Later that year, Garcia was asked to serve as interim public
health Director. As a dual director, Garcia led the agency’s pandemic response,
while sheparding consolidation to a single health and human services structure.
Two years later, Kelly leads Iowa’s largest agency, with a commitment to
transparency and accountability. The key to this success is building strong teams,
transforming the agency’s business processes and driving home on a humancentered strategic vision.

Before moving to the Hawkeye state, Garcia led improvements in organizational
structure, program management, and policy development in the great state of
Texas, including serving in several executive positions at the Texas Health and
Human Services Commission. Garcia has more than 20 years of experience in
program evaluation and budget, planning and policy development.
Garcia is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and received her MPA
from The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M
University. She was a member of the Governor’s Executive Development
Program sponsored by the LBJ School of Public Affairs and has been
acknowledged as a distinguished alumnus. She is married to attorney Dan Garcia,
and they have two children.

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