DHS news release
Dec. 27, 2007
Contact: Ann Snyder, 503-945-5922
State public health director to depart
Susan Allan, J.D., M.D., M.P.H., director of the Oregon Department of Human Services Public Health Division, has announced her resignation effective Feb. 1, 2008.
Allan has served as the state's public health director since March 2005. Prior to joining DHS Allan directed public health services for the Arlington County, Virginia, Department of Human Services. Allan, who is a native of Washington state, is leaving Oregon to join her husband in Seattle.
"Dr. Allan has brought a much-needed focus on strengthening and modernizing the state's public health programs," said DHS Director Bruce Goldberg, M.D. "Under her leadership Oregon has updated its public health laws, improved the state's ability to ensure safe drinking water, increased the number of school-based health clinics throughout the state, and made steady progress toward reducing tobacco use among Oregonians.
"Most importantly," added Goldberg, "the Public Health Division improved communications with Oregon's 34 county health departments and enhanced the state's emergency preparedness and response capacity. Her departure will be a great loss."
Filling in for Allan on an interim basis will be Michael Skeels, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Oregon Public Health Laboratory.
Skeels has worked in public health since 1977. He joined the DHS Public Health Division in 1983 to direct Oregon's lab, a position he held until 1990. From 1990 until 1994 he served as the state's public health director, before voluntarily stepping down to return to overseeing the lab. Prior to moving to Oregon he led state public health labs in Montana and New Mexico. He also is a clinical professor at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine.
"Dr. Skeels is highly respected and well known in the public health community," said Goldberg. "He was an excellent public health director and I am very pleased he has agreed to return to this position while we conduct a national search for a permanent replacement. His prior experience leading the Public Health Division means he will be able to step in with no learning curve and continue the fine work being done by the division's programs."
The Public Health Division operates more than 100 prevention-related programs to protect the health of Oregonians. Key programs include maternal and child health and nutrition, disease and injury prevention, drinking water and environmental health monitoring, hospital licensing, emergency medical services regulation, public health laboratory services, school-based health centers, immunizations, radiation exposure monitoring, food safety oversight, tobacco education and prevention, acute and communicable disease prevention, and vital records.