Gov. Bev Perdue announced the merger of two divisions within the state Department of Health and Human Services and DHHS leadership changes.
The Division of Public Health and the Office of Rural Health and Community Care are merging. Dr. Laura Gerald, former head of the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, will be the new state health director and run the Division of Prevention, Access and Public Health Services.
She is the former director of the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, and led Perdue's Eugenics Compensation Task Force. After the legislature dissolved the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, Gerald went to work as a temporary adviser to DHHS Secretary Lanier Cansler on Community Care of North Carolina.
Dr. Jeff Engel, public health director, will become a special adviser on health policy, reporting to new DHHS secretary Al Delia. Engel has been public health director since 2009.