Kristen Houser

Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS)

Houser previously served as served the Director of the Drug and Alcohol Division at the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association in PA, and for nine years as Chief Public Affairs Officer at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR). Houser is recognized as a leading expert on sexual violence and is a go-to source for context and expert opinion to national, regional, and international media on sexual assault issues and cases.

Her career of nearly three decades has been dedicated to public health, sexual assault prevention and response, women’s health and wellness, and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. She is a Governor appointment member of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, serves on the advisory board for the Reframe project of the RESOLVE Philly journalism collective and is a member of the Penn State College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society Board of Directors.  Houser also served as the Executive Director of Centre Volunteers in Medicine, a non-profit that serves and advocates for the medically underserved in Centre County, PA and chaired a countywide taskforce on behalf of Community Alliance in Omaha, NE to foster philosophical and practical changes among mental health, substance abuse, and homeless service providers serving people with co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders.

Houser received her Master of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and Minor in Women Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Houser is also the recipient of the 2006 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award for the college of Health and Human Development for outstanding professional accomplishments prior to age 35.