What They’re Watching: Tracy Gruber, Utah Department of Health and Human Services

Tracy Gruber, the Director of the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, wants the state’s health care system to move to a place where it accepts the fact that COVID-19 will be around for a long time and to provide the needed support for Utahns to continue living their lives while the disease continues to be present in their lives.

“[We’re] moving to what the state is calling a ‘steady state,’ [which is] this idea that COVID is going to be with us, like other contagious diseases, and we are at a place with advancements in technology and vaccination and therapeutics [and] we can actually start integrating our COVID response into almost a typical contagious disease model.”

During our conversation with her at the 2022 Utah State of Reform Health Policy Conference earlier this year, Gruber discussed the main focus areas of the now-complete health department merger. These include behavioral and physical health integration, addressing the social determinants of health, and building comprehensive data systems for the new department.