FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander has announced Shambra L. Mulder, Ph.D., as the agency’s new ombudsman. Mulder began her appointment on Feb. 13.
Governor Andy Beshear said Mulder shares his commitment to ensure that those receiving CHFS services are treated fairly.
“Kentuckians deserve to be treated with respect and dignity when we provide them with care and assistance,” Beshear said. “Shambra believes that cabinet staff and services should meet the highest of standards, and she will be committed to giving everyone we serve a voice in their own health and well-being.”
Friedlander said Mulder’s background in psychology, special education training and advocating for student equity give her experience to meet the needs of CHFS clients.
“Our mission is to deliver quality services to enhance the health, safety and well-being of all Kentuckians,” Friedlander said. “Shambra will empower those we serve by making sure their needs are met, their questions are answered and their paths to progress are clear.”
Mulder said she intends to be responsive to concerns from both Kentuckians we serve and staff.
“I am excited and ready to serve the Commonwealth as part of the Office of the Ombudsman,” Mulder said. “This opportunity gives me the chance to join a team that is committed to helping resolve issues, and to provide important feedback and assessment results to Cabinet leadership so we can improve the effectiveness of our services.”
Mulder is a licensed psychologist and most recently owned her own counseling and coaching service for children and adolescents. Previously, she was an assistant professor of special education at Kentucky State University, school psychologist for Woodford County Public Schools, and service member in the U. S. Navy. She was a federal contractor serving CHFS Disability Determination Services.
Nationally certified in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, Mulder is a member of the Kentucky Psychological Association, currently serving that board as diversity representative, and the Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools. Her relevant training experience includes an advance certification in psychotherapy, motivational interviewing, suicide prevention, nurturing parenting, implicit bias training, ethics in psychology, domestic violence, and culturally responsiveness.
Mulder has earned all of her higher education degrees from the University of Kentucky, including bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. She also completed the advanced psychotherapy certificate program at the Wayne Institute at Bellarmine University.
The CHFS Office of the Ombudsman advocates for citizens and works to ensure those seeking public services receive fair treatment. Staff answer questions about CHFS programs, investigate customer complaints and work with CHFS management to resolve them, advise CHFS management about patterns of complaints and recommend corrective action when appropriate.
Because of its connective and counseling function, the ombudsman is one of the Cabinet’s most crucial positions, Friedlander said, and it was important to find the right person for the job.
“Shambra and her team will serve as a bridge between individuals and the Cabinet,” he said. “She’ll be able to note trends in complaint calls and help us evaluate reasons for any lapses in support to improve services.”
Mulder lives in Lexington with her husband, Chad, and their children. She is a proud member of First Baptist Church Bracktown and thanks God for positioning her to help people from all walks of life and all political and religious persuasions. She is also a Life Member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., an international service organization comprised of women from every profession.