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The Scoop

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Verbatim: Indiana health commissioner to be CDC deputy director

Statement issued Monday:

Governor Mitch Daniels announced today that State Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe will leave her state role to become deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and director of the CDC’s newly formed Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support.

During her five-year tenure as state health commissioner, Indiana has gone from one of the nation’s worst to one of the best in immunizing its children. The commissioner also implemented Daniels’ executive order to create the state’s first medical errors reporting system, led the state’s response to the H1N1 flu pandemic, and has advocated the governor’s INShape Indiana initiative, which is aimed at decreasing tobacco use, increasing physical activity and improving nutrition.

“When you’re the best health commissioner in America, someone like the CDC is bound to notice. On behalf of all the kids now immunized, all those who didn’t suffer from a hospital error or the H1N1 flu, and all those she helped to lose weight or stop smoking, thanks Doc. The nation is lucky to have you,” said Daniels.

During Monroe’s time as health commissioner:

  • Indiana improved its childhood immunization ranking, moving from 41st to 15th in the country for children with full immunizations.
  • Indiana’s state ranking for obesity improved from being the most obese state in the nation in 2003 to 28th in 2009.
  • Forbes placed Indiana as seventh on the list of the top 10 states to improve obesity ranking in the past 20 years.
  • The new medical error reporting system identified pressure ulcers as the top medical error. An initiative was put in place that has resulted in a 30 percent decrease in pressure ulcers at participating facilities.
  • Indiana was the first state to receive vaccine shipments during the height of the H1N1 flu. More than 1.3 million Hoosiers have been vaccinated.
  • The department developed the State Health Commissioner Advisory Committee, which provides advice on many issues, including preparedness. The committee includes one health officer and one administrator from local health departments in each of the state’s 10 districts.
“I’ve always said there’s no one more committed to the health and well-being of Hoosiers than Governor Daniels. He’s a great partner and it’s been a tremendous honor to serve in his administration,” said Dr. Monroe. “I’ll leave Indiana with a great sense of pride and gratitude. Fortunately, I will continue to be involved with the health departments in my new position.”

In her new role, Dr. Monroe will manage three divisions of the CDC as well as provide strategic direction and oversight for the investment of CDC resources and assets in state, local, territorial, and tribal public health agencies. She also will focus on expanding capacity at local public health agencies, increasing collaboration and communication between the CDC and local public health agencies, and serving as principal CDC liaison to other federal agencies and organizations concerning state, territorial and local public health agencies and tribal governments.

Daniels appointed Dr. Monroe in March 2005. Her last day as health commissioner will be March 8. Loren Robertson, deputy health commissioner, will serve as interim health commissioner until the governor appoints a replacement.

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