4:41pm

Thu September 27, 2012
Health and Welfare

Mayfield Appointed as Public Health Commissioner

Dr. Stephanie Mayfield has been appointed as the commissioner for the state Department for Public Health, making her the first woman and first African American to hold the position, which has typically been held by a physician. The appointment was made by Audrey Haynes, secretary of health and family services.

The department is the largest health-care provider in the state, with an annual budget this year of almost $400 million. It includes 59 county and district health departments, many of which are "financially struggling," notes Beth Musgrave of the Lexington Herald-Leader. "The health departments have seen their budgets cut in recent years, leading to some lay offs and furloughs." (Read more)

Mayfield has been director of Kentucky’s public health laboratory since 2005. According to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Mayfield and the state lab team have been instrumental in speeding up tuberculosis detection and in testing the state's newborns for a wide array of problems. In addition to overseeing the state lab, Mayfield has also served as a lecturer on rotation at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine’s Preventive and Occupational Medicine Residencies and the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology.

Dr. Steve Davis, who as deputy commissioner has run the department for more than a year, tells Kentucky Health News that he will remain in the agency.