Arizona Top Doctor to Step Down to Take New High-Profile Role

by Elizabeth Troutman


Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Wednesday that Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director, is leaving her position on August 27 to become chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

“When Cara Christ became a doctor, she did it to help others and save lives. That’s exactly what she’s done,” Ducey said in a news release. “She dedicated countless hours to protecting millions of Arizonans from the COVID-19 pandemic — and she’s done it with grace, stability and confidence.”

The governor praised Christ’s leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including establishing testing and mass vaccination sites, developing Arizona SurgeLine, and increasing vaccination access for communities in need. He also applauded her work before the pandemic in developing the Arizona Opioid Action Plan and the Zika Action Plan and expanding access to health care institutions and child care facilities.

On August 13, Christ will become the longest-serving ADHS director, the news release said. She has held several ADHS leadership positions, becoming chief medical officer, licensing director, and deputy director of public health for the department in 2008 and serving as director since May 2015.

“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,” Ducey said.

Christ is an infectious disease epidemiologist who received a Bachelor’s and Master of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University. She attended medical school at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson.

Christ thanked the ADHS team for their work in protecting the health of Arizonans before and during the pandemic.

“It has been an honor to lead ADHS and work to keep Arizonans of all ages, backgrounds and unique needs healthy and safe,” she said. “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.

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Elizabeth Troutman is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Dr. Christ” by Arizona Department of Health Services (via YouTube).





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