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Dr. Cara Christ to step down from her role as ADHS director

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Posted at 11:54 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 16:15:45-04

PHOENIX (KGUN) — The Arizona Department of Health Services director will be stepping down from her role next month.

According to Gov. Doug Ducey, Dr. Cara Christ will leave her position on Aug. 27 for a new position with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Dr. Christ has lead ADHS as its director since 2015.

“By mid-August, Dr. Christ will be the longest-serving ADHS director. And she was a dedicated leader long before the pandemic hit — developing the Arizona Opioid Action Plan and the Zika Action Plan, expanding access to health care institutions and child care facilities, and always taking creative approaches to better protecting Arizonans. Through any and every challenge, Dr. Christ put the health and safety of Arizonans first. I am deeply grateful for her years of leadership and service to our state, and I wish her continued success at her new opportunity with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona,” said Ducey.

“Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, my number one priority has been protecting the health of Arizonans all across our state,” said Dr. Christ. “When the pandemic hit, the entire state came together to contain the spread and protect one another — and I’m grateful to everyone who worked with our team at the Arizona Department of Health Services to protect fellow Arizonans. It has been an honor to lead ADHS and work to keep Arizonans of all ages, backgrounds and unique needs healthy and safe. I’m so proud to have been a part of this administration, and I thank Governor Ducey for entrusting me with responsibility for public health in Arizona and for working with me closely in the state’s response to COVID-19.”

Christ sent this letter to her ADHS colleagues:

Dear ADHS Family,

I’m writing to share news that for me is both exciting and filled with emotion. Next month I will depart ADHS, my professional home and family for 13 years, to become Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Network and Contracting for Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of Arizona. My first day there will be Aug. 30.

Governor Ducey will send a formal announcement shortly, but I wanted you to hear the news directly from me.

I am excited about this next step and incredible opportunity. However, this was a very difficult decision.

The past year has been unprecedented, and I am so honored to have navigated the challenges alongside all of you. Thank you for your endless work to protect public health and to ensure health and wellness for all Arizonans and our communities. Each of you makes a huge difference in the lives of so many. I am always proud to say I am part of this incredible team and all that we’ve done for the health of Arizonans.

I know that many of you have heard me say this before, but I am the luckiest Director in state government because I get to work with such amazing, committed people on very important issues.

I will miss all of you, but I won’t be going very far. I’ve made a commitment to Governor Ducey and his team to continue to support the agency in any way that I can. You can count on me to always be a huge advocate for all that you do. I won’t forget the incredibly rewarding, but difficult job that comes with being a public health professional.

My last day with the agency won’t be until Aug. 27. There will be more news in the coming days about short- and longer-term plans for agency leadership. For now, please accept my sincere thanks. I’ll admit a heavy heart as I write this, but one thing I don’t worry about is ADHS. The talent, professionalism, creativity, and camaraderie that drives this team every day ensures that ADHS will continue making Arizona a better place.

Thanks for letting me be a part of this family,