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DCH Director Olga Dazzo steps down; governor taps Jim Haveman for post

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today accepted the resignation of Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo, who has decided to return to the private sector. The governor named former Director James K. Haveman, Jr. to lead the agency. Dazzo was appointed by Snyder in December 2010.   

"Olga is a dedicated health professional whose contributions to Michigan residents are very much appreciated," Snyder said. "I respect her desire to return to the private sector where she wants to more directly work with the health care system to bring about positive change. I wish her the best. Olga's focus on reducing the obesity and infant mortality rates in our state demonstrates her unwavering commitment to health and wellness."


"I have truly enjoyed serving as DCH Director and I am very pleased that we set a vision and a framework to address chronic illnesses and infant mortality," said Dazzo. "Serving as director has given me a great opportunity to see the different aspects of health care at the policy level and the need to integrate public health, primary and specialty care, mental health and other services to prevent illness, improve services, and reduce costs. I am looking forward to working in the private sector to make this happen."  


In appointing Haveman to serve as director of DCH, Snyder said, "We have an ambitious health and wellness agenda that is vital to Michigan's economic future and overall quality of life, and we're fortunate that former DCH Director Jim Haveman has agreed to return to state service and drive that agenda forward. Jim is an experienced leader and a recognized innovator. His appointment demonstrates our commitment to maintaining health and wellness as a top priority."


The governor outlined the importance of health, wellness and affordable health care in his September 2011 special message to the Legislature.


Haveman, of Grand Rapids, served as DCH director from 1996 to 2003 and Department of Mental Health Director from 1991 to 1996.


"The Governor understands how interconnected the physical and mental health of our citizens is to our economic success and I am honored to return to public service and focus on this comprehensive approach to health and wellness," said Haveman. "I look forward to building upon the successes Director Dazzo and her team have established as we move forward to reinvent our state."


In 2003, Haveman was appointed by the White House as the Coalition Provisional Authority Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Health. His efforts focused on helping a free Iraq to build a sustainable and equitable health care system.


Haveman received the National Governors' Association Distinguished Service Award in 1997. In 2000, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Calvin College.


A social worker by training, Haveman is a 1966 graduate of Calvin College. He earned his master's degree in social work from Michigan State University.


Haveman has resigned his seat on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Board of Directors, effective Friday, August 17. 


Haveman's appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, and he is scheduled to begin as director on Sept. 1, 2012. Director Dazzo will continue in a transition role over the next couple of months.