Earlier today (June 1), Governor Ralph Northam announced my appointment as State Health Commissioner. I am honored, and humbled, to take on this role at VDH. I’m honored because you all, the staff at VDH, do a superb job of protecting the health of the citizens of the Commonwealth, and it’s an honor and a privilege to head such a team.
I’m also humbled by this appointment. I’m humbled by the Governor and Secretary’s confidence in my ability to lead this agency, and I’m humbled by the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of VDH employees. It’s comforting to take the helm at VDH, knowing that the agency has such an outstanding crew.
As I said when I accepted the role of Acting State Health Commissioner about a month and a half ago, I plan on staying the course we set for ourselves with our strategic plan and the Virginia Plan for Well-Being. You should expect no big, strategic changes in the direction the agency takes. This ship is staying on course. I do hope, as the new State Health Commissioner, to lead a process that steps up our implementation of our strategic plan and deploys population health initiatives. I do want to increase the ship’s speed.
We’ll have to rebuild the senior leadership team to accomplish our goals. We’ll be recruiting a Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Preparedness and a Deputy Commissioner for Population Health. The postings for these positions will be up soon. Meanwhile, the acting deputies and the rest of the senior leadership team stand ready to do whatever we can to help the offices and local health districts continue to do outstanding work. Together, we can realize our vision of making Virginia the healthiest state in the country. I’m completely stoked about being a part of this team. I hope you’re excited, too.