Read the full biographies of 11 participants in the State Health Officials Career Achievement and Sustainability Evaluation (SHO-CASE) Study.
State health official biographies
Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH
As the current director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, has emerged as a leading voice in Rhode Island and nationally in ensuring that every person has an equal opportunity to be as healthy as possible, no matter their ZIP code of residence, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, level of education, level of income, or insurance status. The first African-American woman to serve as Rhode Island’s top health official, Dr. Alexander-Scott has been the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health since 2015.
She has had a distinguished career as a specialist in infectious diseases for children and adults, in addition to her career as an associate professor of pediatrics, medicine, and public health. She currently serves as the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the national organization for state health directors. The focus of her ASTHO presidential term is Building Healthy and Resilient Communities.
Dr. Alexander-Scott attended Cornell University and subsequently graduated from medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University at Syracuse. After completing a combined internal medicine-pediatrics residency at SUNY Stony Brook University Hospital, Dr. Alexander-Scott finished a four-year combined fellowship in adult and pediatric infectious diseases at Brown University. She is quadruple-board certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, adult infectious diseases, and pediatric infectious diseases, and also holds a master’s degree in public health from Brown University.
John Auerbach, MBA
John Auerbach is president and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health, where he oversees the organization’s work to promote sound public health policy and make disease prevention a national priority. Over the course of a 30-year career he has held senior public health positions at the federal, state, and local levels. As associate director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) he oversaw policy and the agency’s collaborative efforts with CMS, commercial payers, and large health systems.
During his six years as the commissioner of public health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he developed innovative programs to promote health equity, combat chronic and infectious disease, and support the successful implementation of the state’s health care reform initiative. As Boston’s health commissioner for nine years, he directed homeless, substance abuse, and emergency medical services for the city as well as a wide range of public health divisions.
Mr. Auerbach was previously a professor of practice in health sciences and director of the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice at Northeastern University; program director of one of the country’s first community health centers; and director of a clinical training program at a tertiary care safety-net hospital.
Georges Benjamin, MD
Georges Benjamin is one of the nation’s most influential physician leaders. As a testament to his influence, in 2016, President Obama appointed Dr. Benjamin to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, a council that advises the president on how best to assure the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure. His career contributions speak to the health issues having the most impact on our nation today.
As executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA) since 2002, he leads national efforts to make America the healthiest nation in one generation. At APHA, Benjamin also serves as publisher of the nonprofit's monthly publication, The Nation's Health, the Association's official newspaper, and the American Journal of Public Health, the profession’s premier scientific publication. He is the author of more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters.
He came to APHA from his position as secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Benjamin became secretary of health in Maryland in April 1999, following four years as its deputy secretary for public health services. As secretary, Benjamin oversaw the expansion and improvement of the state’s Medicaid program.
Benjamin, of Gaithersburg, Md., is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is board-certified in internal medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He holds honorary fellowships in two British societies; the Royal Society of Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health as well as an honorary doctorate of science from the Meharry Medical College.
Leah Devlin, DDS, MPH
Leah Devlin is a professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. In addition, she is a consultant to the Research Triangle Institute, International (RTI). Dr. Devlin has more than 30 years in public health practice in North Carolina including 10 years as the Wake County health director and 10 years as the state health director for North Carolina.
She is a board member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, the UNC Board of Visitors, the Gillings School of Global Public Health Advisory Council, Trustee of Campbell University, NC Medical Society Foundation Board, NC Foundation for Advanced Health Programs and other statewide boards. She is a past president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Directors. She is a past president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Directors. Devlin earned her bachelor’s, dental and master’s degree in public health at UNC Chapel Hill. Devlin’s honors include UNC’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Jeffrey Engel, MD
Dr. Jeffrey Engel, MD has served as the executive director of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CTSE) since September 2012. Prior to joining CSTE, Dr. Engel was the North Carolina State health director, managing the division of public health since 2009. He led the state's response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic and secured $23 million in federal funding for preventive health services.
During his tenure as director, North Carolina implemented a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, decreased the new HIV infection rate by 18 percent, and reduced infant mortality rates to the lowest ever recorded. Dr. Engel served as the North Carolina state epidemiologist from 2002 to 2009 and was professor of medicine at East Carolina University from 1988 to 2002. He serves as director of National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Paul K. Halverson, DrPH, FACHE
Paul Halverson is the founding dean of the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis. Dr. Halverson came to Indiana University from the Arkansas Department of Health where he served as state health officer and director.
Prior to his appointment as state health officer, Dr. Halverson served in senior management roles at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including as senior advisor in the office of strategy and innovation, senior scientist and director of the division of public health systems development and research, director of the CDC’s World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center for Public Health and director of the National Public Health Performance Standards program. Before joining the CDC, Dr. Halverson served as the senior health policy advisor for the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources.
Dr. Halverson began his career in health administration and has 15 years of experience as a hospital and health system executive, working in Phoenix, Minneapolis, and mid-Michigan. Dr. Halverson earned a doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina, his master’s degree in health services administration from Arizona State University and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Bob Harmon, MD
Bob Harmon has been with Cerner Corporation since 2013 and currently is a senior physician executive for federal, state and local government clients. He previously served as director of the Duval County Health Department in Jacksonville, FL from 2006 to 2012, including three years overseeing jail healthcare. His health IT activities include serving as a member of the governing board and sustainability work group of the Digital Bridge Initiative co-sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Public Health Informatics Institute and Deloitte. He also serves on the ASTHO informatics policy committee.
He formerly served as co-chair of the FL Dept. of Health statewide EHR steering committee, member of the FL health information exchange coordinating committee and chair of the public health informatics work group of the Natl. Assoc. of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). From 1994 to 2005 he was a national medical director with the Optum Division of UnitedHealth Group, including a year as the director of the research center in the Ingenix technology business unit. He served from 1990 to 1993 as administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and assistant surgeon general in the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
From 1986 to 1990, Dr. Harmon was director of the Missouri Department of Health, and from 1980 to 1985 was director of public health in Maricopa County, Phoenix, Arizona and chairman of the department of community medicine at the Maricopa Medical Center. This included overseeing jail healthcare. From 1977 to 1980, he served as director of the MEDEX Northwest Division and assistant professor of medicine and health services at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.
Dr. Harmon received his bachelor and medical degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and a master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is board certified in preventive medicine and has completed a residency in internal medicine. He has authored more than 70 publications dealing with health IT, quality improvement, managed care, primary care, public health administration, and health policy. He is the recipient of the NACCHO 2012 Mullet Career Service Award and the ASTHO 2015 Alumnus of the Year Award.
Douglas Lloyd, MD, MPH FACPM
Dr. Douglas Lloyd retired from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2007, where he worked for 16 years. He held several key public health positions, namely the director for the Center for Public Health Practice. Dr. Lloyd was the youngest cabinet level state health officer in the country at the age of 34 when he was sworn in as the Connecticut state health commissioner in 1974.
At the completion of his 13-year tenure as state health officer, he had been the longest-tenured cabinet level state health officer in the country. After just five years in his tenure (1989), he was awarded the Arthur T. McCormack award from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO), for dedication and excellence in public health.
He is an active member of the ASTHO Alumni Society and maintains an active license to practice medicine in Connecticut, membership in the APHA, AMA, and ACPM. He now maintains an active consulting practice and is assisting the University of Texas School of Public Health in their tobacco control program. Dr. Lloyd was raised in Suffield, CT and received his A.B. in Chemistry (1961) and his MD (1971) both from Duke University. He has a MPH from UNC Chapel Hill (1969) and is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in public health and preventive medicine.
John Lumpkin, MD
John Lumpkin is the senior vice president of programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is responsible for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s efforts aimed at transforming health and health care systems, ensuring that everyone has access to stable and affordable health care coverage, building leadership, and engaging business toward building a culture of health in the United States.
These efforts help to catalyze fundamental changes in health and health care systems to achieve measurably better outcomes for all by maintaining high-quality, effective, and value-laden health care, public health, and population health services. Before joining the foundation in April 2003, Lumpkin served as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health for 12 years. During his more than 17 years with the department, he served as acting director and prior to that as associate director.
Lumpkin earned his MD and BMS degrees from Northwestern University Medical School and his MPH from the University of Illinois School of Public Health. He was the first African-American trained in emergency medicine in the country after completing his residency at the University of Chicago. He has served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and University of Illinois at Chicago.
Judith Monroe, MD
Judith Monroe’s professional focus has centered on the intersection of primary care and public health. Her career has taken her from private medical practice to academia, hospital administration and public health protection. In February 2016, Monroe was named president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. The CDC Foundation has a mission to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do more, faster by forging effective partnerships between CDC and philanthropic and private sector organizations and individuals to build public health programs that make our world healthier and safer.
The foundation has over 300 active programs across the U.S. and 85 countries. Prior to joining the CDC Foundation, Monroe worked for six years as a CDC deputy director and served as director of the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS). At CDC, Monroe oversaw key activities and technical assistance supporting the nation’s health departments and the public health system.
Monroe received her M.D. from the University of Maryland and B.S. from Eastern Kentucky University. She completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Cincinnati, a rural faculty development fellowship through East Tennessee State University, and a mini fellowship in obstetrics through the University of Wisconsin. She also participated in the State Health Leadership Initiative at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and received an honorary doctorate from Purdue University in Health and Human Services.
Mary Selecky served as Washington state secretary of health from 1998 until April 2013. As one of the nation’s longest serving secretaries of health, she served three governors – Locke, Gregoire and Inslee. Prior to that, she worked in local government in one of Washington’s most rural areas – Ferry, Pend Oreille and Stevens Counties - where she had been a local public health administrator for 20 years. Mary was an assistant dean of students at Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Pennsylvania.
Mary is on the boards of Providence Health Care Spokane and Stevens Counties, NEW Hunger Coalition, and the Empire Health Foundation. She serves on the accreditation committee of PHAB, the dean’s council for the Fairbanks School of Public Health, and the scientific committee for United Health Foundation State Health Rankings. Mary is a proud member of the ASTHO Alumni Society. Mary graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has been a resident of Washington State since 1974. She lives near Colville, Washington.