New leaders appointed to promote
July 24, 2007
Dr. Jay Butler,
new Chief Medical Officer
new Director of Public Health
Director of Public Affairs
(SitNews) - Commissioner Karleen
K. Jackson today announced the realignment of several leadership
positions to help the state Department of Health and Social Services
promote and protect the health of Alaskans.
"The most dramatic change in our structure is the creation
of a new Chief Medical Officer position to oversee public health
and provide advice to me," Jackson told her staff.
The state's new Chief Medical Officer is Dr. Jay Butler. Butler
earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill, in 1985. Butler completed residencies in internal
medicine and pediatrics and a clinical fellowship in infectious
diseases. He worked as a medical epidemiologist for the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta before coming to
Alaska in 1998. Butler directed the CDC's Arctic Investigations
Program based in Anchorage between 1998 and 2005. He then joined
Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services as the chief
of the Division of Public Health's Section of Epidemiology. In
early 2007, he became the director of the Division of Public
Health. Butler will leave that position to become the state's
first Chief Medical Officer charged with advising Jackson, other
department leaders and the governor's Cabinet about medical concerns.
"The Chief Medical Officer position is designed to help
Alaskans move toward the goal of becoming the healthiest people
in the world," said Butler, a father of five. "This
will require addressing access to high quality and affordable
health care, and being prepared to control new and emerging health
threats. However, we also need to identify new ways to empower
all of us to take responsibility for maintaining wellness in
our own lives, in our families and in our communities."
To allow Butler to focus on his new role, the department has
appointed Beverly Wooley as the new Director of Public Health.
Wooley has more than 20 years of public health experience in
Alaska. Since 2003, she served as the director of Anchorage's
Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that, Wooley
promoted nutrition, environmental sanitation and community health
through various positions in the state. Wooley will join the
department in August.
Commissioner Jackson announced one other change. To promote health
communications, Sherry Hill, one of Jackson's current Special
Assistants, will serve as the Director of Public Affairs to oversee
the Public Information Team as well as legislative and regulatory
work. Hill has more than 20 years of experience in public and
government relations, and earned a Master of Science degree in
public relations from the University of Stirling in Scotland.
She has worked as the Special Assistant responsible for department
communications and legislative work since September 2003. Hill's
Public Information Team consists of more than a dozen staff members
in Anchorage and Juneau who respond to media inquiries, and write
and publish materials communicating department decisions and
health promotion messages.
"Sherry has been functioning in this role for some time,
and this change simply acknowledges the excellent work she does
to support DHSS in communicating effectively with all our various
stakeholders," Jackson told her staff.
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