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Arizona's Health Department Gets A New Leader Amid 3rd COVID-19 Wave

Don Herrington
Arizona Department of Health Services
Don Herrington

Arizona’s Department of Health Services will have a new leader starting this week. Gov. Doug Ducey  announced Don Herrington will succeed health department director, Dr. Cara Christ, who is  stepping down Friday to take a job in the private sector. 

Herrington has been with the health department for 21 years. He currently serves as deputy director for planning and operations. He will step into the role of interim director as COVID-19 cases and  hospitalizations surge across the state.

“We have an extraordinary group of individuals at the department and I’m honored to lead this team. I look forward to promoting and protecting the health of everyone who calls Arizona home,” Herrington said in a press release.

The governor also announced Dr. Richard Carmona will take on a senior public health adviser role to promote COVID-19 vaccinations. Carmona is a former U.S. surgeon general who has recently led the University of Arizona’s COVID-19 response.

"I’m eager to take on the challenge. COVID is the common enemy and all of us need to work together to defeat it. The state’s response to this global health emergency has been top-notch, and I look forward to building on Dr. Christ and her team’s success,” Carmona said in a press release. 

Former Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble, who actually hired Herrington, says he’s a great choice. 

“I think Don’s got a good management style. I think one of the things I like about him is that he frees up his team to make decisions and operate. He’s not a micromanager, and I think that’s a good thing," Humble said. 

The Show spoke with Herrington to learn more about these changes.

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.