Arizona DHS Director Dr. Cara Christ leaving position in August
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ will resign Aug. 27 to join Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced the move on Twitter Wednesday morning, thanking Christ for her service.
“She’s implemented effective statewide testing and internationally-recognized mass vaccination sites, established the national model Arizona SurgeLine, worked hard to increase vaccinations for communities in need, and so much more,” tweeted Ducey.
Christ has served as the director of ADHS since 2015 and has led a team that administered more than 1.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. She will be the longest-serving director in history before she leaves her position. Christ also released the Vaccine Management System that registered 2.6 million appointments.
The announcement comes a day after Christ said the department would update its recommendation to match the CDC, which recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas with “substantial” and “high” transmission of COVID-19.
According to CDC data, this includes nearly two-thirds of all U.S. counties.
“Everyone in a K-12 setting, teachers, staff and students, should wear a mask,” said Christ said. “I think the masks provide another layer of protection.”
Request to speak with Cullen Wednesday were declined.
She did send an email to the ADHS staff about her decision. We have copied that email below.
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,
Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.