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Don Herrington named as new director of Dept. of Arizona Health Services

Don Herrington.jpeg
Posted at 10:34 AM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 21:14:40-04

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey has announced a new leader for the Arizona Department of Health Services.

On Thursday, a statement from the Governor's Office named Don Herrington, a 21-year veteran of the Arizona Department of Health Services, to oversee the frontline health care workers who have spearheaded the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Herrington currently serves as the deputy director for planning and operations at ADHS.

He'll start his new role on Monday.

"We share a lot of the same public health values. So I think that you won't see a major policy or approach that wouldn't be consistent with Dr. Christ," said Herrington.

Former ADHS Director Will Humble said Herrington is well-liked in the agency and will bring stability.

“They know who he is, he’s easy to work with, they know he’s not a micromanager, and I think they’re hoping that he will provide some buffer between them in the governor's office," said Humble.

Governor Ducey Thursday also announced that the 17th Surgeon General of the United States -- Dr. Richard Carmona -- will serve as the senior advisor on health emergency preparedness.

Herrington said the agency's focus will be to get more people vaccinated, and Dr. Carmona will lead that effort.

"Dr. Carmona is a very passionate person who has an extraordinary background in the ability to work with communities and different groups to reach out so we may be able to do that even better," said

Dr. Carmona has been a key member of the University of Arizona's COVID response team. He led frequent updates that focus on data.

Humble said Dr. Carmona is well respected in the public health world, and he's known to be outspoken.

"The public can trust what he says is the truth as he sees it, that it’s evidence-based, it’s not going to be spin, it’s not going to be something that people in the governor's office told him to say. And that’s a refreshing change," said Humble. "There’s going to be people in the 8th and 9th floor that may not like what he says all the time.”

Herrington will serve as interim director until the governor finds a permanent replacement.

Earlier this month Governor Doug Ducey announced Dr. Christ would be stepping down to pursue a leadership role at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Christ has been Arizona's longest-serving ADHS director. Her last day is Friday.