FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander has announced Dr. Steven Stack as the agency’s new commissioner of the Department for Public Health (DPH).
Stack will begin his appointment on Feb. 10.
Governor Andy Beshear said Stack shares his commitment to making better health care and health education available to Kentuckians in every part of the state.
“Health care is one of the most important needs of Kentuckians,” Gov. Beshear said. “It’s a basic human right, and Steven will lead our state Department for Public Health in its work to provide a strong foundation of well-being for everyone by informing, educating and empowering people about health issues and hazards in their own communities.”
Friedlander said Stack is a seasoned healthcare policy advocate and educator.
“Protecting the health and well-being of all Kentuckians is our mission, and Steven has almost 20 years of years of clinical, operational and management experience to help guide our state Department for Public Health staff and galvanize both its assistance programs and educational efforts. He is an excellent choice to modernize our state’s public health services.”
Stack said he aims to be a leader of the entire state public health system and help make resources and care more accessible.
“I am proud to be a part of health programming that is innovative, accountable and focused on making Kentuckians’ lives better,” Stack said. “Our state health officials are here to support and enhance local health departments. We can’t forget that health care is local, and we have to balance a practice of targeting the right care with the approach of maximizing our state and federal resources.”
Stack is an emergency physician at Saint Joseph Hospital East in Lexington, where he also has served as Medical Director and Chair of the Emergency Department. He also has clinical experience at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, St. Joseph Mount Sterling Hospital in Mount Sterling, Bourbon Community Hospital in Paris, and other hospitals in Tennessee and Ohio. He is licensed to practice medicine in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Stack is also an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business.
He recently served as president of the American Medical Association and has served as a councilor (trustee) and advocacy workgroup chair of the World Medical Association. He held several positions at the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, including as a member of the Health IT Safety Center Task Force and the Health IT Standards Committee Steering Committee.
He served 13 years as a member of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Emergency Medical Advisory Board.
Stack received his Bachelor of Arts from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business and his Doctor of Medicine from The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Stack completed his emergency medicine residency at The Ohio State University Medical Center.
DPH is responsible for developing and operating state public health programs and activities for all Kentuckians. The mission of DPH is to improve the health and safety of people in Kentucky through prevention, promotion and protection.
The department also oversees programs designed to improve the lives of citizens and visitors through prevention of negative health outcomes, promotion of healthy lifestyles and protection from diseases, injury and environmental health impacts.
Stack said he is also eager to support Cabinet efforts in public health issues like strengthening resources for opioid use disorder and promoting tobacco/vaping cessation
Stack lives in Lexington. Stack succeeds former DPH Commissioner Dr. Angela Dearinger, who is looking forward to returning to the University of Kentucky as Assistant Dean of the College of Medicine.
“We appreciate the dedicated service of Dr. Dearinger and her role in making a smooth transition for Dr. Stack,” Friedlander said. “She has helped to establish the foundation of our Kentucky Public Health Transformation and to promote health education across the state.”
Learn more about CHFS’ programs at https://chfs.ky.gov/Pages/index.aspx.