KDHE comms director departing

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Ashley Jones-Wisner, who led the state health department’s communications efforts through the COVID-19 pandemic, is leaving her position at the end of the week.

Jones-Wisner, senior director of public affairs for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is stepping down to start her own  advocacy and communications consulting firm called Ashley JW Consulting.

The firm will focus on health and the healthcare field, Jones-Wisner’s last day is Friday.

In her position, Jones-Wisner frequently was the point person for answering inquires about the agency whether it was related to Medicaid, COVID-19, environmental issues or any of the many topics under the agency’s umbrella.

Lee Norman, the state’s health secretary, praised Jones-Wisner is an email sent to agency employees.

“She has made a remarkable imprint on KDHE, before and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Norman wrote.

“She has built a very strong team that has been productive, innovative, strategic, and very creative.

“Our website has improved and our social media presence now has immense reach.  Under her leadership, our agency has gotten significant national attention.

Norman credited Jones-Wisner with prepping him for his speaking engagements and public appearances.

“I have appreciated her clear writing and economical, clear messages she has provided me – daily!” he wrote.

“She has made me look good, which I assure you is no small chore!”

Jones-Wisner started with KDHE in March 2019, a year before the pandemic swept into Kansas.

She previously worked as the state policy director for KC Healthy Kids.

She also was the state policy director for the Local Initiative Support Corporation, a national community development corporation with offices in Kansas City.

Jones-Wisner has bachelor’s degree in business management, marketing and related support services from Baker University.

She also has a master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas.