Senate Panel Confirms First Head of California Public Health Agency
On Wednesday, the Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Mark Horton, former head of the state's health programs, as the first director of the California Department of Public Health, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The department was created last year from the Department of Health Services to focus work on disease prevention, bioterrorism preparedness, food safety, and water and air quality.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) appointed Horton to the position nine months ago.
Although he was confirmed unanimously, committee members pressed Horton to explain how the department was working to address:
- Contamination of the water supply with prescription drugs, soaps and other chemicals; and
- Disaster preparedness, particularly why the state has disbursed only $210 million of $370 million in federal grants for hospital and bioterrorism preparedness (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 5/1).