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Commissioner Gilbertson to leave state service
Accepting position at Providence Health System - Alaska Region


August 05, 2005

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski announced Thursday that he reluctantly accepted the resignation of Health and Social Services Commissioner Joel Gilbertson, who will leave state service Sept. 30 to accept a position as Director of Strategic Development and Administration with Providence Health System - Alaska Region.

Gilbertson, who previously served Murkowski as the U.S. Senator's legislative director and counsel, has been a valued long-time advisor and cabinet member, Murkowski said.

"Under Joel's watch, the department has improved child protective services, reduced social worker caseloads, eliminated over-crowding in our juvenile detention facilities, advocated for a new public health law and programs to reduce youth smoking rates," Murkowski said. "Joel has served the people of Alaska well."

Gilbertson served on numerous boards and commissions including the Alaska Commission on Aging, the Alaska Mental Health Trust, the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse, the Alaska Children's Trust, the Governor's Council on Disabilities & Special Education, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, the Alaska Tele-health Advisory Council and the Workforce Investment Board.

Gilbertson is credited with focusing the department's efforts toward delivering more efficient and effective services, part of which included integrating services across divisions for individual clients.

"The Division of Behavioral Health began this effort in early 2003 and is now ensuring clients who have both mental health and substance abuse issues are diagnosed and treated for all of their conditions at one time. This is a tremendous advancement and a national model for treatment and care that should make the entire department proud," Gilbertson said.

"While I will miss serving as Commissioner of DHSS, I remain very excited about the department's future. With a great management team at the helm, the department is on a strong course to further this administration's critical initiatives aimed at helping Alaskans, including the Bring the Kids Home project, the behavioral health integration and SeniorCare," Gilbertson said.

Gilbertson, who joined the Murkowski administration in December 2002, said he had planned to stay in Alaska after his appointment as DHSS Commissioner, and this opportunity allows him to remain here.

"It has been a pleasure and an honor to have worked for Governor Murkowski," said Gilbertson. "This new position with Providence presents an opportunity to work with a quality Alaska organization that is committed to improving health care in our state."

Governor Murkowski said that he would name a new commissioner very soon.







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