DPBH Leadership


Julie Kotchevar, PhD
Julie Kotchevar has extensive experience working within the field of health and human services programs, particularly in the field of children and adults with disabilities. She has worked nationally and internationally for over 15 years to create efficient and agile systems that can skillfully respond to the changing needs of consumers while also ensuring that services are person centered, ethical, appropriate, and evidence-based. Within Nevada and nationally she has worked with state programs to identify and repair broken and inefficient systems. Internationally she worked to develop systems in several countries including primary and maternity care in central China, basic health and assessment services in rural parts of Indonesia, and early intervention systems for children and families in the Southern Sudan.

Julie has served in the Nevada state system as an Executive Branch Auditor, the Clinical Program Manager of Nevada Early Intervention Services, and as the Deputy Administrator of Aging and Disability Services Division before joining the Director's Office as the Deputy Director.

Julie has recently completed her Doctorate in Health Policy Planning and Analysis, has a Master's degree in Organizational Management and a Bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education.

Administrative Services Branch

Debi Reynolds
Deputy Administrator
Debi Reynolds is the Deputy Administrator of Administrative Services. Debi has served the State of Nevada for 20 years, most recently as an Executive Branch Budget Officer in the Governor’s Finance Office where she served as the budget analyst for Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, Division of Child and Family Services, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange and the Department of Veterans Services.

Prior to this, Debi worked for the Division of Public and Behavioral Health for 15 years as an Administrative Services Officer, Budget Analyst, Management Analyst and Executive Assistant. Debi’s extensive experience with DPBH includes budget planning and development, financial analysis and reporting, budget oversight and management, budget reconciliation, cost allocation, development of indirect cost rates, contract management, regulation adoption and executive support to the State Board of Health.

Clinical Services

Beth Handler, MPH
Deputy Administrator
Beth has worked in public health for almost 20 years. In addition to overseeing the programs in the Division of Public and Behavioral Health’s Bureau of Child, Family, and Community Wellness, she has also worked with Nevada’s Public Health Preparedness, Community Health Nursing, and Ryan White programs. Beth has a Master’s degree in Public Health (International Health/Epidemiology), Bachelor of Science in Biology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emory University. While working at Emory, she also traveled across Southeast Asia and Europe coordinating international colloquiums for the Business School. She is a graduate of the Great Basin Public Health Leadership Institute.

Disease Prevention and Investigation

Julia Peek, MHA
Deputy Administrator
Julia Peek is a native Nevadan, born and raised in the Carson Valley. She went to school at Douglas High School, then went on to the University of Nevada, Reno to get her Bachelor's Degree in Health Ecology with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies and a Certificate in Gerontology. Julia moved to Seattle to get her Master's Degree in Health Services Administration with a focus on Rural and Underserved Communities at the University of Washington. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Great Basin Public Health Leadership Institute and is currently enrolled in the state's Certified Public Manager (CPM) Program.

Julia has been with DPBH since 2006, starting as a health resource analyst and then was promoted to the manager of the Office of Public Health Informatics and Epidemiology (OPHIE). During her public health career thus far, Julia has received several awards for her work, including the Dr. John E. Worden Award for excellence in public health from the University of Nevada, Reno and the Public Health Leader of the Year and Public Health Advocate of the Year from the Nevada Public Health Association.

Julia lives with her husband and three children in Reno.

Regulatory and Planning

Margot Chappel
Deputy Administrator
Margot Chappel is the DPBH deputy administrator over the Regulatory and Planning Services Branch, which includes programs that oversee health facility inspection, environmental health, medical marijuana regulation, emergency preparedness, radiation control and more.

Margot started with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services in 2006 as the Head Start State Collaboration Office Coordinator in the Director’s Office. Her work led to the creation of the Office of Early Learning and Development (now housed within the Nevada Department of Education) before she took a role with the Aging and Disability Services Division where she developed provider certification standards for early intervention service providers and led quality assurance efforts for programs providing developmental services, and services for people who were aging or had physical disabilities. Most recently Margot was the manager of the Title V Maternal and Child Health Program and then the Primary Care and Health Workforce Development Office, where she researched topics regarding funding, best practices, national trends and other information needed to address health care disparities related to primary health care.

A graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, with an associate’s degree in prekindergarten education and bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies, Margot earned a Master of Science degree in human services in 2015. Margot lives in Sparks with her husband and dog Rowan. She and her husband have five grown children between them and six grandchildren.

Chief Medical Officer

Ihsan Azzam
Dr. Ihsan Azzam oversees public health surveillance, epidemiology and disease control activities. He advises state and local health authorities, healthcare providers and community-based organizations, and provides professional education, guidelines, clinical updates and recommendations to prevent, control and contain disease outbreaks. Dr. Azzam represents Nevada on state and national forums, advisory bodies, and academic institutions, and he coordinates investigations and surveillance activities among state, local and federal agencies.

Dr. Azzam earned his medical degree from Cluj University of Medicine in Romania in 1982 and completed his OBGYN residency in 1986. He also holds a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Demography from the University of Seattle School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and a CDC Chronic Disease Epidemiology Certificate from the Penn State College of Medicine. At the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Azzam completed his MPH in 2002 and PhD in 2010. He has been the recipient of several awards, including the 2011 National Sheppard Award for Excellence in Epidemiology.