ADHS director steps down to take on Blue Cross role

Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director Dr. Cara Christ will leave her position on Aug. 27 for a leadership role as chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. 

The news was announced in a press release from Gov. Doug Ducey’s office, in which he said Christ had been instrumental in the state’s COVID-19 response. 



“When Cara Christ became a doctor, she did it to help others and save lives. That’s exactly what she’s done. She dedicated countless hours to protecting millions of Arizonans from the COVID-19 pandemic — and she’s done it with grace, stability and confidence.” 

Christ implemented statewide COVID-19 testing and mass vaccination sites. She also established Arizona SurgeLine, which gave health care providers a way to ensure patients received appropriate inpatient placement. During her time as director, the Department administered more than 1.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

By the time she leaves her office, Christ will be the longest-serving ADHS director. She began serving as director in May 2015, and had worked as the chief medical officer since 2008, according to the press release. 

Christ said this in the press release: 

“Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, my number one priority has been protecting the health of Arizonans all across our state. When the pandemic hit, the entire state came together to contain the spread and protect one another — and I’m grateful to everyone who worked with our team at the Arizona Department of Health Services to protect fellow Arizonans.”

Christ sent an email to ADHS employees regarding her decision. The email was obtained by KOLD

In the email, Christ stated the following: 

“The past year has been unprecedented, and I am so honored to have navigated the challenges alongside all of you. Thank you for your endless work to protect public health and to ensure health and wellness for all Arizonans and our communities. Each of you makes a huge difference in the lives of so many. I am always proud to say I am part of this incredible team and all that we’ve done for the health of Arizonans.”