January 5th, 2011
DENVER Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper announced today Dr. Chris Urbina will be the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Urbina, a native of Pueblo, is now the Director of Denver Public Health at Denver Health, where he is responsible for expanding the reorganization of public health services toward a more community-oriented approach while preserving the outstanding public health clinical services.
In his new role, Urbina will also serve as the state's Chief Medical Officer.
"Dr. Urbina is uniquely qualified to oversee all aspects of the Department of Public Health and Environment," Hickenlooper said. "He is a physician and public health expert who knows Colorado and knows how to build consensus on complicated issues. Chris also has extensive experience finding community-based solutions that involve the environment, systems and policy changes. He will serve our state well."
Urbina has worked for Denver Public Health since 2004. While there, he has developed close working relationships with many community organizations, City agencies and local leadership in Denver and throughout Colorado. Most notably, he established a strong partnership with Denver Environmental Health to create a functional public health and environmental health department for the City of Denver.
He is the Co-chair of the statewide initiative known as the Colorado Public Health Improvement Plan-From Act to Action. The plan sets the course for the creation of a cohesive public health system in Colorado, engaging rural and urban local public health agencies and the state Department of Public Health and Environment to create a more uniform and effective service model and to use resources efficiently.
Urbina's work on this initiative has led to strong working relationships in all parts of Colorado.
"I am honored to be selected by the Hickenlooper-Garcia team to head the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment," Urbina said. "Our state and local public health and environmental professionals have a long tradition of creating the opportunity for every Coloradan to be healthy and to protect the natural beauty and environment of our great state. I look forward to working with our leadership, organizations and communities around the state."
Urbina earlier worked in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico, holding positions of Associate Chair and Associate Professor. He also worked for the New Mexico Health and Environment Department as a district health officer.
Urbina continues to teach in introductory public health courses at the Colorado School of Public Health and at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He is the current president of the Colorado Public Health Association and serves as a board member for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Denver Metro, the Denver Foundation and at Clinica Tepeyac, in addition to being involved in numerous other local health organizations.
He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Stanford University and a medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He completed a family practice residency at the University of New Mexico and earned a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Urbina is board certified in Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine.