DHSS News Promoting the health and well-being of Alaskans. June 2019

From Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, MD, FACEP

Welcome to the first State of Alaska CMO newsletter! 

Let me begin by expressing my deep gratitude to all of you as health care professionals. Thank you for your compassion and dedication as you care for your patients and help your communities envision a healthier future. 

Next, let me introduce myself. I have been a practicing emergency physician in Alaska for over 10 years. I quickly learned that to care for my patients, I had to care about the systems of health care and the larger communities in which we live and practice. This journey led me to focus on public health and health care policy, and eventually to serve as the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Chief Medical Officer (CMO) beginning this July. I am grateful for the previous leadership and guidance of those who have served in this role before me, including Dr. Dick Mandsager, Dr. Ward Hurlburt, Dr. Jay Butler, and Dr. Lily Lou. 

My goal with this newsletter is to create a trusted source of concise, clinically-relevant information from DHSS to you. I also hope that it will serve as a bridge back to DHSS so your vast clinical experience and expertise can help inform the work we do. A stronger partnership between DHSS and Alaska’s medical community benefits all of us, especially our patients.

This newsletter is one of several steps intended to enhance communication between DHSS and Alaska’s health care providers. I will be holding office hours for open dialogues with providers at health care facilities around the state, attending key events, helping form advisory boards on critical topics, and compiling a voluntary database of providers who are willing to be contacted as questions and concerns arise. 

In my new role as CMO, I provide clinical input and leadership to DHSS. That leadership will be better informed by increased communication with the medical provider community. 

A wise attending physician gave me this advice during my residency, “Do what is right for the patient, and the rest is noise.”  One of my primary goals as CMO is to provide you the information and support you need but also reduce that noise so you can focus on giving your patients the best care possible.

This newsletter is a work in progress. We look forward to your feedback and collaboration.  Please feel free to contact me, anne.zink@alaska.gov or the commissioner’s office administrative assistant, Nicole Dice, nicole.dice@alaska.gov, 907-269-7800, with any feedback, comments, or questions you may have.

Thank you for all you do.


Anne Zink, MD, FACEP | Chief Medical Officer
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
3601 C Street, Suite 756 | Anchorage, AK 99503


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