Rendered Arizona FlagWe’ve had a great run together since I accepted the Interim ADHS Director position 6 years ago.  I’m grateful to all of you for trusting me in this important position and for working together for the benefit of the folks of Arizona.  We’ve made tremendous progress toward our Vision of Health and Wellness for all Arizonans over the last 6 years.  The public health interventions we implemented are based on evidence and incorporate measurable performance measures to benchmark our progress.

We overhauled our regulation of licensed healthcare institutions by developing and implementing new and modern regulations that are aligned with evidence-based criteria.  Because the new regulations are focused on public health outcomes, we set the stage for improving the quality of care in Arizona’s licensed healthcare institutions for years to come.

We shifted the Department’s behavioral health system to focus on the core principles of Recovery and adopted outcome-based performance measures to monitor and to improve the effectiveness of Arizona’s behavioral health system, resulting in real and measurable improvements in people’s lives.  We integrated physical and behavioral healthcare for folks living with a serious mental illness – a reform that will continue to improve outcomes.  We implemented evidence-based interventions at the Arizona State Hospital that are measurably improving the quality of care for our patients and families.

Our public health preparedness programs are world-class and our prevention activities continue to be used nationally as models of excellence and best practices.  We made tremendous strides toward: 1) Improving the State’s ability to prepare for and respond to communicable disease outbreaks; 2) Reducing obesity and smoking rates; 3) Lowering teen pregnancy rates; 4) Reducing healthcare associated infections; 5) Improving the public health effectiveness of Arizona’s pre-hospital system; 6) Reducing prescription drug misuse and abuse; 7) Improving survival after an out of hospital cardiac arrest; 8) Developing a modern trauma system in rural Arizona; 9) Improving maternal and child health in high-risk communities; and 10) Using data to drive our surveillance and intervention initiatives.

Our Operations teams have made our business operations more transparent, efficient, and customer friendly.  Our information technology, procurement, accounting, administrative council and rules, audit and special investigations and personnel teams implemented quality improvement measures that have and will continue to improve the efficiency of our Agency.

Finally, we’re on track toward national accreditation as a state health department, completing the State’s first comprehensive State Health Assessment in 2014.  We’re also on track to developing the first ever Arizona Health Improvement Plan.

This week Governor Ducey’s team asked me to stay on as the ADHS Director, and I accepted.  I’ll be working with our new Governor and his team in the coming days and weeks as we press ahead with our Vision of Health and Wellness for all Arizonans.