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Med school's Palafox is named state health director

Abercrombie taps Fuddy and Gill as deputy directors

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:29 p.m. HST, Dec 18, 2010



Dr. Neal Palafox was named director of the state Department of Health by Gov. Neil Abercrombie at a press conference today.

Palafox, 58, is chairman of the Department of Family Practice and Community Health at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. He is also the director of the school's Family Practice Residency Program. 

The nomination must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Abercrombie said he expects to name an attorney general, the last major position in his administration, before the weekend ends.

Like the woman he replaces, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Palafox is a practicing physician. He is on the active medical staff at Wahiawa General Hospital.

Palafox was born and raised in Hawaii, and attended University High School. He received his medical degree at the University of Hawaii, and earned a master's degree in public heath from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in Maryland.

Abercrombie also named two deputy health directors and a deputy transportation director.

Loretta Fuddy, who has been chief of the Family Health Services Division in the Health Department, will be DOH's first deputy director. Fuddy, 62, holds a master's degree is social work.

Former City Councilman Gary Gill is the Health Department's new deputy director for environment. Gill, 50, returns to a position he held in the Cayetano administration. He is currently program director for Blue Planet Foundation.

Also named yesterday as deputy director for administration in the Department of Transportation is Jan Sekiya Gouveia. Gouveia, 42, is currently vice president for executive operation at Waimana Enterprises. 

Gouveia's position is a new one in the Transportation Department. Earlier this week, Abercrombie named Glenn Okimoto as his transportation director, and Randy Grune and Ford Fuchigami as deputy directors in charge of harbors and airports, respectively.

There will not be a deputy director in charge of highways in the Abercrombie administration. Gouveia's deputy director for administration post was created instead.






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