Arizona Dept. of Health Director Dr. Cara Christ to step down, join Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

On Wednesday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ will leave her position on August 27 for a leadership role with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona as their chief medical officer.

Dr. Christ has led Arizona's Depart of Health Services since May 2015 after serving as chief medical officer. She also served as licensing director and deputy director of public health for the department. 

The governor's office says Dr. Christ will be the longest-serving director in the history of the department as of August 13, before her departure from the position.

"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. "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."

"By mid-August, Dr. Christ will be the longest-serving ADHS director. And she was a dedicated leader long before the pandemic hit — developing the Arizona Opioid Action Plan and the Zika Action Plan, expanding access to health care institutions and child care facilities, and always taking creative approaches to better protecting Arizonans. Through any and every challenge, Dr. Christ put the health and safety of Arizonans first. I am deeply grateful for her years of leadership and service to our state, and I wish her continued success at her new opportunity with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona," stated Gov. Ducey on July 28.

Dr. Christ is an infectious disease epidemiologist and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in microbiology from Arizona State University. She earned her doctor of medicine from the University of Arizona's College of Medicine in Tucson.

"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," said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona President and CEO Pam Kehaly. "As we welcome Dr. Christ to the BCBSAZ team, we look forward to continuing our excellent collaboration with the state."

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news:

More Arizona health news:

AZDHS: Masks should be worn indoors, in classrooms amid Delta variant-fueled COVID-19 surge

New CDC mask guidelines: Vaccinated should mask indoors, as should K-12 schools