‘It’s really hard to leave’: Dr. Cara Christ to step down as state health director for job at Blue Cross Blue Shield

Screengrab DHS/Christ was the leading public health figure in Arizona throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

By Alison Steinbach | Arizona Republic

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ is leaving the state Health Department in August.

Christ has been named chief medical officer for insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. Her last day at ADHS will be Aug. 27.

Christ was the leading public health figure in Arizona throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, advising state leaders on health issues and working on programs for testing, hospital capacity and vaccinations.

On Tuesday, Christ said the state’s guidelines would be adjusted to align with federal recommendations for people to wear masks indoors in counties with higher COVID-19 transmission rates and for people to wear face masks in schools, regardless of vaccination status and community transmission.

She said in a Wednesday interview with The Arizona Republic that the new job had been in the works “for a little while.” She is not leaving because of any disagreements with the Governor’s Office, she said.

“It’s an incredible opportunity that just was too good to pass up,” she said. “But I’ve been here for so long … I love public health, I love working with the Governor’s Office, I love our partners and stakeholders and our mission, so it’s really hard to leave this team.” 

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