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Gov. Hickenlooper names new executive director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

DENVER — Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 — Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today Dr. Larry Wolk will be the next Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

 

Wolk is a successful entrepreneur who has two decades of leadership experience in various aspects of public health and healthcare. He currently works as the CEO of the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) in Denver.

 

In his new role, Wolk will also serve as the state’s Chief Medical Officer.

 

“Larry has an impressive background and unique leadership skills,” Hickenlooper said. “He has a proven track record of creating change and tackling difficult issues. His experience in running large organizations, delivering results and balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders will serve the Department of Public Health and Environment and our state well. We are pleased he is joining our team and our efforts to make Colorado the healthiest and safest state in the country.”

 

In addition to his work at CORHIO, Wolk is the founder and executive director of the Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics and he is a clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

 

The Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics is one of the largest safety-net clinics in Colorado, providing more than 50,000 patients visits each year at more than 40 clinic sites. Wolk plans to continue his volunteer work with Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics after joining CDPHE.

 

“I look forward to bringing to CDPHE leadership and perspective in public health and to protecting Colorado’s environmental health,” Wolk said. “My goal is to simplify the health care landscape for Coloradans and to support regulatory efforts aimed at keeping our air, water and ground safe.”

 

Wolk earned a medical degree from the University of Vermont College of a Medicine and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He recently worked nearly five years as president and chief operating officer at Correctional Healthcare Companies, which provides services to corrections agencies in 27 states and employs more than 2,500 people.

 

Wolk earlier worked as the senior medical director of both Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Colorado and Prudential Healthcare of Colorado, and he served in a regional and national role as senior health care executive at CIGNA HealthCare. He was the medical director of ambulatory pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center for five years.

 

Wolk has worked the last year at CORHIO and will continue to serve as an adviser to the organization. CORHIO is dedicated to improving healthcare quality for all Coloradans through health information exchange. As the state designated entity for health information exchange, CORHIO collaborates with health care stakeholders including physicians, hospitals, clinics, public health, long-term care, laboratories, health plans and patients to improve care collaboration through secure systems and processes for sharing clinical information.

 

Over the last two decades, Wolk has received many honors, including Colorado Pediatrician of the Year, National Philanthropy Day Volunteer of the Year, Denver Business Journal Healthcare Executive of the Year, a “Channel 7 Everyday Hero,” and he is a recipient of the University of Vermont’s Award for Service to Medicine and Community. Most recently, Wolk received the Lifetime Healthcare Achievement Award from the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Outstanding Clinical Faculty Community Service Award from the University of Colorado. Wolk also served as an officer on the board of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and the Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion and Education.

 

Wolk will start work at CDPHE on Sept. 16.

 

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About the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

The department is organized into 10 divisions that fall under three broad groupings: health programs, environmental programs and administration. The health programs are comprised of the Center for Health and Environmental Information and Statistics, Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division, Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Services Division, Laboratory Services Division, Prevention Services Division and the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response. The environmental programs are comprised of the Air Pollution Control Division, Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability, Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, and the Water Quality Control Division. The Administrative Services Division includes the Executive Director’s Office, administrative services, human resources, legal and regulatory affairs, and policy and external affairs.