For Immediate Release
February 10, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

New State Health Director to Join KDHE

Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, MD, MPH

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is pleased to announce that Jason Eberhart-Phillips, MD, MPH, has accepted the position of Health Director and Kansas State Health Officer. Dr. Eberhart-Phillips has been serving as the county health officer of El Dorado County, California, since 2006.

"Dr. Eberhart-Phillips’ diverse experience, along with his clear dedication to public health, will be an asset to KDHE and the citizens of Kansas," KDHE Secretary Roderick L. Bremby said. "His enthusiasm for coming to Kansas and becoming a part of our state’s public health community speaks well of us as a state, and I look forward to the benefit of his extensive background in preventive medicine to provide the leadership of our Division of Health.”

Prior to his appointment as health officer in El Dorado County, Dr. Eberhart-Phillips served as senior lecturer in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand.

He earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University and his medical degree from the University of California San Francisco. He also holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California-Berkeley, and a master of divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion.

“I am delighted at the opportunity to make Kansas my home and serve its citizens while working side-by-side with public health partners around the state,” Dr. Eberhart-Phillips said. “Kansas has a talented and dedicated public health community whose professionals have achieved much. But there remains plenty to do to help the many Kansans who are still unable to enjoy optimal health due to preventable illness and injury.”

He added that the current economic crisis is only making matters worse, especially for our vulnerable populations. “Now, more than ever, smart, forward-looking public health interventions are needed that reduce disease risk, improve access to care and create environments that support healthy choices,” he said.

Dr. Eberhart-Phillips has also served as the chronic disease director for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, as a medical epidemiologist for the ESR Health Communicable Disease Centre in Porirua, New Zealand, and as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Before becoming a physician, Dr. Eberhart-Phillips worked as a news reporter in Pennsylvania and Arizona.  He has been the lead or principal investigator on a number of research and surveillance activities, and he is a well-published author, writing two books and numerous medical articles.

Dr. Eberhart-Phillips will begin work with KDHE in March.