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DHSS Public Health Director to change
Dr. Richard Mandsager named new Director, effective June 1


March 23, 2004
Tuesday - 1:15 am

Juneau, Alaska - The Department of Health and Social Services public health leadership will soon undergo change. In early March, Public Health Director Doug Bruce announced plans to leave the Department in April for family and personal reasons. Dr. Richard Mandsager will take over as Director of Public Health effective June 1, according to Joel Gilbertson, Commissioner of Health and Social Services.

"During his year with the Department, Doug Bruce has been a tremendous leader for Public Health," Commissioner Gilbertson said. "Although I am sad to accept his resignation, I wish him well, and I want to thank him on behalf of our staff and the many Alaskans he served while he was director." Bruce was named Director of Public Health in early 2003. Commissioner Gilbertson said that during Bruce's tenure, Public Health continued to strengthen its abilities to respond to natural disasters and terrorist attacks, delivered health care to thousands of Alaskans through public health nursing, cut sales of tobacco to youth, and completed the first statistically valid survey of the risk behavior of Alaska youth since 1995.

"It has been a very good experience to be with you during part of this journey," Bruce said in a message to all Public Health staff. "I have enjoyed meeting and working with you, and have come to appreciate your dedication to the mission of providing a reliable and consistent foundation for the health of the citizens of Alaska."

" Doug Bruce has not only made a difference in public health, he also helped change the Alaska health care system - for the better - since arriving in Alaska in 1994," Commissioner Gilbertson said. Bruce served as Chief Executive Officer of Providence Health System in Alaska from 1994 to 2003. During his time at Providence, the children's hospital was built and he helped grow Providence Health System in Alaska from 1800 employees to over 3500, becoming the state's largest employer.

" I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Richard Mandsager was named as our new Director of Public Health," Gilbertson said. "Dr. Mandsager brings to this Department exceptional qualifications and experience both as a medical administrator and as a practicing physician."

Currently, Dr. Mandsager is Medical Director of the Pediatric Service Center of Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) in Anchorage. In that position he achieved more than a 90 percent immunization rate for children, and has served as a consultant building positive working relationships between pediatricians and family medicine doctors in both urban areas and villages. His prior experience includes serving as Staff Pediatrician for Southcentral Foundation, where he revised and improved protocols for medical care to children and adolescents.

Dr. Mandsager has also served as the past Director for the Alaska Native Medical Center and Service Unit Director for the Anchorage Service Unit. During his tenure in that position, he achieved Accreditation with Commendation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), and facilitated completion of the ANMC hospital campus, which was the largest project in the history of the Indian Health Service and the first joint construction project of the Indian Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

"These accomplishments demonstrate that Dr. Mandsager is well qualified to assist the Department in facilitating the transition of health care services to Native health care providers who are prepared to provide those services in their local communities," Commissioner Gilbertson said.


Source of News Release:

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Web Site



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