Ismael Ahmed

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Ismael Ahmed
Director of Michigan Department of Human Services
In office
September 10, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Governor Jennifer Granholm , Rick Snyder
Succeeded by Duane Berger
Personal details
Occupation Politician
Website State of Michigan DHS

Ismael Ahmed was the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services from September, 2007 to January 3, 2011. He was appointed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm in September 2007. As director of the state’s second largest agency, Ahmed oversaw 10,000 employees and managed a $4 billion-plus budget serving 1.5 million medical assistance cases and 1.2 million cash and food assistance cases.[1]


Ismael Ahmed was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947. He came to Detroit, Michigan with his family when he was 6 years old. After high school, he journeyed to Vietnam and Korea and came back to the United States and became active in the United Auto Workers union to put himself through the University of Michigan-Dearborn. After graduation, he began helping out his neighborhood and his community[2] and in 1973, Ahmed co-founded the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS).[3] He was appointed executive director in 1983 and was responsible for overall operations of the organization as well as the executive administration of the Arab American National Museum. The largest Arab-American human services organization in the United States, ACCESS has affiliates in 11 states and offers more than 90 programs with more than 900,000 client contacts annually.[4]

For a number of years Ahmed had his own radio show on WDET Public Radio.He contributed a chapter on the Arab Worker’s Caucus in Detroit in Arabs in America: Myths and Realities, Abu-Laban and Zeadey eds. (AAUG Monograph Series #5: Medina University Press, 1975) and a chapter on Michigan Arab Americans in American Arabs and Political Participation, Strum, P. ed., (Woodrow Wilson International Center, 2006).

Ahmed's son, Saladin Ahmed, is an award-winning fantasy author.[5]

Michigan Department of Human Services[edit]

The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) is the state’s second-largest agency. The DHS oversees almost 10,000 employees and has an annual budget of more than $4 billion to administer federal programs.

The DHS staff handles more than 1.5 million medical assistance cases and 1.2 million cash and food-assistance cases all across Michigan. It oversees Michigan's child and adult protective services, foster care, adoptions, juvenile justice, domestic violence, and child-support programs. The DHS also licenses adult foster care, child day care and child welfare facilities.[6]

Ahmed graduated from the University of Michigan - Dearborn with a BA in Secondary Education and a minor in Sociology in 1977.[1]


Ahmed has been honored with the Neal Shine Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership, which is given by the Detroit Free Press and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition.[7] He has also received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Diversity Business Leader award from the Arab American Chamber of Commerce.[8]


External links[edit]