Commissioner to Head National Organization

DATE: April 5, 2006

MONTPELIER – Dr. Paul Jarris has accepted an appointment as Executive Director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in Washington, DC and will be stepping down as Vermont’s Commissioner of Health at the end of May, the Governor’s office announced today.

Governor Douglas praised Jarris for his service and commitment to public health. He has served as health commissioner since March 2003.

“Over the past three years, Paul has been instrumental in my efforts to combat substance abuse; establishing an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility for women and teens; improving our ability to respond effectively to public health threats; and managing my chronic care initiative, which has evolved into the Vermont Blueprint for Health,” Douglas said. “He has been an important part of my team and his expertise, vision and energy will be missed.”

Jarris said his new position is an exciting opportunity to build on the work Vermont has done and affect health issues on a national scale. “I am very proud of the work that we have done for the people of Vermont, and look forward to taking these successes nationwide,” he added.

Governor Douglas said he would appoint a new health commissioner as soon as possible. “It’s important to me that the transition be expeditious and seamless,” Douglas said. “We will continue to build on the extraordinary progress that has been made in key areas like DETER, the Vermont Blueprint for Health, Fit and Healthy Kids, public health preparedness and system-wide reform of how we prevent and treat the chronic illnesses that represent more than three-quarters of all health care spending.”

Prior to joining the Douglas administration, Jarris served as medical director of Vermont’s largest nonprofit HMO (Community Health Plan) from 1992-1996. He was president and CEO of Vermont Permanente Medical Group from 1998-2000, as well as CEO of Primary Care Health Partners, Vermont’s largest statewide primary care medical group. From 2000-2003 he served as president of Jarris and Associates, an independent consulting firm providing services to major regional health plans and provider groups.

ABOUT ASTHO

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is the national nonprofit organization representing the state and territorial public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia. ASTHO's members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy, and to assuring excellence in state-based public health practice.

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