Granholm Appoints Director of Community Health

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Governor-elect Jennifer Granholm is putting Michigan's health concerns at the top of her priority list.

Monday she announced Janet Olszewski as director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. Olszewski's first tasks will be to revamp the Medicaid system and find ways to extend health care coverage to the uninsured.

"We need to make it a program that provides the health coverage people need within an affordable structure that the state can afford long term. It's got financial and structural deficits that we need to fix," said Olszewski.

Appointing a director to the MDCH will address some of the financial concerns of Michigan's health care system, but Granholm says she's even more concerned with the health of Michigan's citizens, and plans to address those concerns by appointing a Surgeon General.

"That's a position I see as a spokesperson, as a public figure. Someone who will go to schools, senior centers, and speak about the habits we need to take in," Granholm said.

Granhom will use Olszewski to help select a nominee. She hopes to announce the individual's name by the end of January. Extended Web Coverage

U.S. Surgeon General

  • Since 1871, the Surgeon General of the United States has been the nation's leading spokesman on matters of public health.

  • Seventeen men and women have served in this position.

  • The Surgeon General is appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the United States Senate for a four-year term of office.

  • The minimum requirements for appointment as Surgeon General are:
    • A medical degree from an accredited medical school.
    • At least one year of postgraduate medical training.
    • Licensure to practice medicine in one of the 50 states.

Duties of Surgeon General

  • To administer the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps, which is a uniquely expert, diverse, flexible, and committed career force of public health professionals who can respond to both current and long-term health needs of the Nation;

  • To provide leadership and management oversight for PHS Commissioned Corps involvement in Departmental emergency preparedness and response activities;

  • To protect and advance the health of the Nation through educating the public; advocating for effective disease prevention and health promotion programs and activities; and, provide a highly recognized symbol of national commitment to protecting and improving the public's health;

  • To articulate scientifically based health policy analysis and advice to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the full range of critical public health, medical, and health system issues facing the Nation;

  • To provide leadership in promoting special Departmental health initiatives, e.g., tobacco and HIV prevention efforts, with other governmental and non-governmental entities, both domestically and internationally;

  • To elevate the quality of public health practice in the professional disciplines through the advancement of appropriate standards and research priorities; and

  • To fulfill statutory and customary Departmental representational functions on a wide variety of Federal boards and governing bodies of non-Federal health organizations, including the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the National Library of Medicine, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, and the American Medical Association.

Source: (The U.S. Surgeon General Web site) contributed to this report