Dear Community Partner,

I have accepted the role as Deputy Governor for Health and Human Services for the Pritzker Administration. I am honored to serve the State and to work for the Governor in this new role, and applaud the work of our outgoing Deputy Governor, Sol Flores, for her passion, support, and trust in me. Sol has led the State through many crises, including the pandemic and leading the State’s response to the arrival of migrants bused from Texas to Chicago. Sol will be taking her skills and public-servant spirit to a new role at the Knight Foundation – a non-profit supporting communities, art and culture, and journalism.

As Secretary, together with IDHS’s remarkable staff and its community partners and stakeholders, like you, we have led the State’s successful Census outreach efforts, implemented IDHS’s compassionate and lifesaving COVID response, eliminated the Medicaid backlog, and achieved SNAP timeliness. Additionally, IDHS is now anchoring critical issues, including Smart Start, Reimagine Public Safety, and Home Illinois.

Though my last day as IDHS Secretary will be on October 8, my love and commitment for the IDHS mission will continue. I will carry with me the lessons and the inspiration that I have gained from you – our community partners, IDHS staff, and the people we seek to help and support. My heart is filled with gratitude and pride as I think about all that IDHS has accomplished, and all it will continue to accomplish.

I am also very, very pleased to share that our Assistant Secretary for Operations, Dulce Quintero, will serve as our new Secretary. They will ably lead us into the next chapter, in partnership with you. I have worked alongside Dulce for over four years, and I know them. I know that they will carry on the work and take it to new heights. Dulce is an inclusive and visionary leader at IDHS. They are a longtime and prominent community builder and innovator in the fields of health care and human services, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ services and advocacy.

Dulce was appointed to the role of Assistant Secretary of Operations at IDHS in 2019 by Governor JB Pritzker. In that role, they oversaw operations, including human capital, information technology, and budget. Previously, Dulce served as Director of Operations for the Erie Humboldt Park Health Center, which provides affordable and comprehensive medical services.

Dulce also founded and operated the Casa Corazon Youth Drop-in Program at La Casa Norte, one of Chicago’s few safe spaces serving LGBTQ+ youth on the West Side. At La Casa Norte, they also developed and implemented the nationally-recognized Solid Ground Youth Supportive Housing Project.

Dulce was born in Tijuana, Mexico to migrant farm workers and moved to Chicago at age nine. They hold a bachelor’s degree from University of California-Davis, and they have completed a non-profit leadership academy with The Center for Leadership.

I know this change will come with questions, and we are open to hearing your thoughts. We appreciate your partnership in making this transition as seamless as possible. With the Governor’s commitment to human and social services and with Dulce’s ongoing leadership, the future of IDHS is incredibly bright.

Please join me in congratulating Sol and Dulce as they take on these new roles. You can find out even more in this press release.

To all our amazing IDHS stakeholders and supporters, thank you. Those of us in human and social services have chosen the “helping” field as our vocation – and what a wonderful gift that is.


Grace B. Hou