- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - The state Department of Human Services is going to have a new leader.

The current Director Rachael Wong is leaving her post at the end of the month.

Gov. David Ige said Thursday that Pankaj Bhanot (PAHN’-kej Buh-NO’) will take over Sept. 1.

The Department of Human Services runs the state’s Medicaid, child welfare and other social service programs.

Bhanot is a 17-year veteran of the department and has served as deputy director twice. He is an attorney by training who has dedicated his life to human rights and human services.

Ige says Bhanot has experience implementing large information technology and human services projects.

Wong will be taking time off and then pursuing opportunities in the private sector.

Bhanot will serve as interim director until the Senate votes on his appointment.

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