PHOENIX — Dr. Cara Christ, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, is set to leave her position at the end of next month.
Governor Doug Ducey announced Wednesday that Dr. Christ, the longest-serving ADHS director, would be leaving to pursue a leadership role at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.
The news comes a day after ADHS urged mask use for all individuals despite vaccine status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed its mask guidance Tuesday and is now recommending the use of masks indoors in areas of high or substantial transmission, as well as masking for everyone in K-12 schools.
"The mask recommendation does make sense especially when you've got high community or substantial community transmission," Dr. Christ said Tuesday. Christ said the agency is also urging everyone in K-12 schools to wear masks indoors -- including teachers, staff members, and students -- regardless of vaccination status.
Following new @CDCgov mask guidelines, @AZDHS will also update its recommendations, including that EVERYONE in K-12 schools should wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. @abc15 pic.twitter.com/OqLTL8T3nT— Claudia Rupcich (@ClaudiaRupcich) July 27, 2021
Dr. Christ has been in her role at ADHS since May 2015. Her last day with the department will be August 27, Governor Ducey says.
“Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, my number one priority has been protecting the health of Arizonans all across our state,” said Dr. Christ in a press release. “When the pandemic hit, the entire state came together to contain the spread and protect one another — and I’m grateful to everyone who worked with our team at the Arizona Department of Health Services to protect fellow Arizonans. It has been an honor to lead ADHS and work to keep Arizonans of all ages, backgrounds and unique needs healthy and safe. 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.”
Dr. Christ, an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, headed the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Information on who would take Dr. Christ's role as the director has not been released.
Welcome to the BCBSAZ family, @drcarachrist!— BCBSAZ (@BCBSAZ) July 28, 2021
From CEO @PamKehaly: “Even before the pandemic, Dr. Christ had a reputation for thinking big, approaching health strategically, and leveraging the best of medicine and science to improve life and health for Arizonans." pic.twitter.com/fSLkYLVfew