Governor appoints interim Health secretary, new director of Health Department

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 739 views 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday (May 5) announced that Renee Mallory will serve as interim Secretary of Health, while Dr. Jennifer Dillaha will serve as director of the Department of Health.

Mallory has been serving as chief of staff for the Arkansas Department of Health. In this role, she oversaw all aspects of financial management, information technology, governmental affairs, human resources, policies and procedures, legal services, health communications, internal audit, and facilities support services. Mallory also advised and assisted the Secretary of Health in setting policy and programmatic direction for the ADH as a whole to ensure programmatic responsibilities were met.

“Ms. Mallory began working for the Arkansas Department of Health 33 years ago and has been integral as a leader in several programs that have benefitted the state.” Hutchinson said, “She has invaluable experience serving the state and will be a great fit as interim Secretary of Health.”

She began her career at ADH in 1988 as a nurse surveyor for Health Facility Services. Throughout the years, Mallory has served in various roles and most recently was the Deputy Director for Public Health Programs from 2018 to 2021. She was a past designee of the Secretary on the Tobacco Settlement Commission and the Arkansas State and Public School Employees Life and Health Insurance Board, where she previously served as chair.

Since joining the Arkansas Department of Health in 2001, Dr. Dillaha has played a leading role in the agency’s health promotion efforts, using a life stage approach that focuses on population-based interventions to improve the health and well-being of all Arkansans.

“Dr. Dillaha has played a significant role in guiding the state through the last two years of the pandemic.” Gov. Hutchinson said. “She has shown her dedication to Arkansas, and I have full confidence that she will continue to lead the state in improved health outcomes with the same dedication.”

Dillaha has been with the Department of Health since 2001 and has been serving as the chief medical officer. This is in addition to her role as Medical Director for Immunizations since November 2013 and the medical director for Outbreak Response since September 2019.

Prior to her current roles, Dillaha served as the state epidemiologist from March 2020 to August 2021, special advisor for Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Director from June 2010 to April 2013, and director of the Center for Health Advancement from August 2005 to June 2010 at the Arkansas Department of Health.