Patrick Allen, a Former Oregon Official, Has Been Appointed Head of the New Mexico Department of Health

Patrick Allen: New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has named Patrick Allen, formerly of the Oregon Health Authority, to head the state’s Department of Health.

According to published sources, Allen was effectively forced out of his position in Oregon and moved to New Mexico to lead the agency on January 3. Oregonians have seen a lot of Allen, 59, over the past three years as he has helped lead the state’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic under Governor Kate Brown. However, Governor-elect Tina Kotek has signaled that she will likely replace him.

Patrick Allen Has Been Appointed Head of the New Mexico Department of Health

When Brown’s tenure ended in early January, he announced his resignation. In an email to staff, Allen said he was “sorry” to be leaving the health authority, which he had led since 2017 and which had a budget of $30 billion.

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It’s clear that “we have plenty ahead of us yet at OHA,” he added. While we have shown that we are capable of delivering true health equality by reducing the COVID-19 vaccination gap, there is still more work to be done to reallocate power and resources in a way that acknowledges, reconciles, and corrects the inequalities and unfairness in our health systems.

During his time in New Mexico, Allen will earn an annual salary of $169,613.81. The Oregon Capital Chronicle, a non-profit newspaper in Oregon, reported that he earned $253,308 per year there.

Patrick Allen, a Former Oregon Official, Has Been Appointed Head of the New Mexico Department of Health
Patrick Allen, a Former Oregon Official, Has Been Appointed Head of the New Mexico Department of Health

While serving as director of the health authority, Allen “significantly increased access to affordable and equitable health care for Oregonians,” as stated in a press release published by Lujan Grisham’s office. This resulted in health insurance coverage for more than 95% of inhabitants. In addition, the report indicated that Oregon had the second-lowest infection rate in the country.

The Governor’s office claims that Allen has served for over 30 years.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham praised Patrick’s qualifications, saying, “I have complete faith he will do the same here in New Mexico.” Patrick has extensive experience in regulatory and public health roles. I can count on him to help me realize my goal of making New Mexico a place where everyone has access to quality health care.

He thanked Lujan Grisham for the chance to serve as secretary and said he was looking forward to “working to fulfill her aim to continue to enhance health outcomes for all New Mexicans.” Allen received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Oregon State University.

Since Dr. Tracie Collins left her position as Cabinet secretary last year, the department has been without a full-time leader.

Since April 2021, Dr. David Scrase has also been acting secretary of the New Mexico Department of Human Services.

The Governor’s Office has announced that Scrase will leave his position as secretary of health and human services to return to that position.

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The governor issued a statement saying, “I am thankful to Dr. Scrase for his dedication to New Mexicans as secretary of the Department of Health.” Many New Mexicans’ lives were spared thanks to his helping in the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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