Pillen appoints Corsi to head DHHS

Aug. 15, 2023, midnight ·

Dr. Steve Corsi (Photo courtesy Central Wyoming Counseling Center)
Dr. Steve Corsi (Photo courtesy Central Wyoming Counseling Center)

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Nebraska is getting a new leader for the Department of Health and Human Services, and the appointment is drawing concern from some quarters.

Gov. Jim Pillen announced Tuesday he’s appointing Steve Corsi to head DHHS. Corsi is currently acting CEO of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, and previously headed the Missouri Department of Social Services and the Wyoming Department of Family Services. In a press release, Pillen said, quote, “In addition to his operational expertise, Steve has a strong servant focus when it comes to providing program services to those who need them.”

Corsi’s social media postings add to the picture of who he is. On Twitter, Corsi retweeted a post that claimed Amish people died from COVID at a much lower rate than other groups because they did not vaccinate and ignored CDC guidelines. A Reuters fact check in 2021 disputed that a lack of vaccinations protected the Amish. Corsi also retweeted a man who said “Don’t be fooled, the definitions of man and woman matter…God loves those who struggle with gender identity. He also calls us to speak the truth.”

State Sen. John Fredrickson said those posts raise concern because of DHHS’s role overseeing state health policy, including on treatments for transgender youth.

“I think a review of Mr. Corsi -- or Dr. Corsi’s -- social media accounts show that he is not a believer in medical best practices, or frankly in the well being of all diverse needs of Nebraskans in our state,” Fredrickson said.

Corsi received a Doctor of Psychology degree from Alliant International University in San Diego, according to the press release announcing his appointment.

Asked for response to the criticism, Pillen spokesperson Laura Strimple said “Nebraskans elected Governor Pillen because of his strong conservative values. He has now appointed someone who also has a strong conservative track record of competence and experience in state health and social services.”

Corsi will be paid $257,000 in his new role, which the press release said was commensurate with former CEO Danette Smith, who announced her resignation in July.