Sandra Powell

Health Policy Project Director at Rhode Island Department of Health

Sandra M. Powell is Health Policy Director for the Rhode Island Department of Health. Prior to her role as Health Policy Director, Ms. Powell served as the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Human Services, which is responsible for administering the State’s major economic support programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Low Income Child Care, Child Support Services, Eligibility for Medicaid, Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), General Public Assistance, the State Program for the Supplemental SSI Payment, Temporary Aid to Needy Families (called RI Works), and federal grants for the homeless, emergency food assistance, domestic violence programs, refugee re-settlement, and Community Action Programs.


Prior to her Human Services appointment in January 2011, Ms. Powell served for three years as director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, overseeing workforce development, workforce safety and regulation, labor market information, unemployment insurance, temporary disability insurance and workers’ compensation programs for the state. Ms. Powell has worked in progressively senior positions in RI state government for over twenty years, where she has focused on delivering both workforce and social services to Rhode Islanders in need.


Ms. Powell serves as a Year Up mentor and guest speaker. She is also on the board of the Providence Plan, and Home and Hospice Care of RI. She has served on the board of directors for the Beacon Mutual Insurance Company and the Governor’s Workforce Board. A lifelong Rhode Island resident, Ms. Powell was born in Providence and graduated from Classical High School. A Princeton University graduate, Ms. Powell holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 2011 she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree, Doctor of Public Service, from Rhode Island College for her years of commitment to serving Rhode Islanders.

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