Cox appoints new UDOH director

Gov.-elect Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov.-elect Deidre Henderson announced a number of new executive appointments on Monday, including a new leader of the Utah Department of Health (UDOH). Rich Saunders will replace Dr. Joseph K. Miner as Executive Director of UDOH under the Cox Administration.

Having worked at UDOH since 2015, Saunders has significant experience with the department. He was a consultant in the department’s Division of Medicaid and Health Financing in 2015. He later became Director of the department’s Office of Organizational Development and Performance Improvement.



He was asked to be the Chief Deputy in March 2020, and became the department’s Interim Director in August 2020 — the position he currently holds. Assuming these roles during the pandemic, Saunders played a significant role in the state’s COVID-19 response.

He was previously an entrepreneur for 25 years, having worked on multiple sales networks and co-founded a successful construction company.

The press release noted the appointees will need confirmation by the Utah Senate unless otherwise specified. Cox expressed his admiration for the new appointees in a statement.

“After a thorough interview process, I’m convinced each of these candidates will serve the citizens of Utah exceptionally well,” Cox said. “Each has impeccable qualifications, brings fresh ideas and, most importantly, is devoted to public service. We’re lucky to have such brilliant minds willing to serve the public.”