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NM Senate confirms Ward as Health Secretary

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The New Mexico Senate voted unanimously to confirm Retta Ward, MPH, as Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health Monday afternoon.

“I’m committed to improving the overall health status of New Mexicans. I expect the Department of Health to promote and imbed prevention efforts into all of the work we do, and I expect Department of Health employees to be role models for healthy living,” said Cabinet Secretary Ward. “I am passionate about all levels of prevention, from primary to quaternary, because the return on investment is high, both in reducing health care costs and improving health outcomes.” 

Ward served as the Cabinet Secretary of the Aging and Long Term Services Department since February of 2011. Gov. Susana Martinez nominated her as Secretary of Health in January.  During her time at Aging and Long Term Services Department, Ward implemented a successful employee wellness program and statewide healthy aging initiative called “Know Your Numbers, Change Your Numbers, Change Your Life.”

“While leading the Aging and Long Term Services Department, Secretary Ward showed a passion and commitment to public health and the well-being of New Mexicans,” Gov. Martinez said. “Ward, who grew up in New Mexico, has a deep understanding of the health needs in the state. In her new role at the Department of Health, she will implement initiatives to help make all New Mexicans healthier.”

In addition to her service as Secretary of the Aging and Long-Term Services Department, Ward worked as an educator and health professional. She previously managed the Arthritis Program for the Arizona Department of Health Services and worked as a health educator for Albuquerque Public Schools.

In addition to her public health background, Ward has experience as a manager with the Hertz Corporation in Albuquerque, Chicago and New York.  Ward was the head of Operations Training for Hertz Rent-a-Car, overseeing the corporation’s 14 training centers located throughout the country.

Ward earned her undergraduate degree in Health Education from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Arizona.