Kentucky Health Commissioner Steven Stack is the new president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Dr. Steven J. Stack, commissioner of the state Department for Public Health, is the new president of the the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

Stack has been state health commissioner since February 2020, when he was appointed by Gov. Andy Beshear. The next month, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, starting a controversial era for public health.

“During the past few years, I have gained invaluable insight as an ASTHO member,” Stack said in a news release from the organization. “I’m honored to step into the role of president at this pivotal period in public health to further ASTHO’s vision of advancing health equity and optimal health for all.”

Beshear, a Democrat, is running for a second term in the Nov. 7 election. If he loses, and Republican Daniel Cameron appoints a new health commissioner, Stack would also lose his position as ASTHO president.

Stack has an MBA degree and “expertise in emergency department and hospital management, health system reform, physician licensure and regulation, and non-profit organization leadership,” the news release says, noting that he was the youngest president of the American Medical Association.

He said in the release, “As president, I am committed to supporting ASTHO’s mission in partnership with other state health officials as we seek to strengthen public health workforce and infrastructure across the nation to ensure that every American can reach their full human potential.”

Stack played a central role in Beshear’s handling of the pandemic. ASTHO CEO Michael Fraser said of Stack, “He has led Kentucky diligently as commissioner, and we know he will do the same for ASTHO. His dedication to innovation and improving public health will be integral in this upcoming year.”

Before becoming AMA president and stat health commissioner, Stack was a board member and secretary for the Washington-based eHealth Initiative, an association dedicated to innovation and solutions in health care through implementation of health technology, the release said.

Stack, an Ohio native, studied at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., before completing medical school and an emergency-medicine residency at Ohio State. He began his clinical practice in Memphis before moving with his wife and daughter to Lexington.

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