A Kaimuki native and Sacred Hearts Academy product has been tapped by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as the state’s new health director.
Loretta Fuddy, 62, originally appointed as first deputy director, has been serving as acting health director since Jan. 26, after initial nominee Neal Palafox removed himself from the position.
Fuddy, who needs confirmation from the Senate, was the chief of the Health Department’s Family Health Services Division. She holds degrees in sociology, social work, and public health from the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins University.
The Abercrombie administration, in a release Wednesday afternoon, said Fuddy is a recognized leader in the public health field. She served as chairwoman of the Hawaii Public Health Association, president of the Association of State & Territorial Public Health, and treasurer and secretary of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs.
She has also won several awards including the Hawaii Outstanding Advocate for Children and Youth, and the Health Department’s Sustained Superior and Exemplary Performance Award.
Palafox, who had not yet been confirmed by the Senate, withdrew at Abercrombie’s request. No reason has been disclosed but a television news report, citing unnamed sources, said Palafox was involved in a medical reimbursement investigation being conducted by the Attorney General’s Office.