Dan Derksen, MD, professor and chair of the Public Health Policy and Management section of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, has been appointed to the Walter H. Pearce Endowed Chair and director of the Center for Rural Health.
“We’re very fortunate to have a distinguished teacher and researcher with such a strong record of health policy, rural health and administrative success to lead our nationally recognized Center for Rural Health,” said Iman Hakim, dean and professor of the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health. “The depth of Dr. Derksen’s knowledge during this monumental time of change in the nation’s health care system makes him the ideal person to lead the Center.”
Derksen joined the College of Public Health in 2012. His health services research interests include covering the uninsured, enhancing access to quality care, reducing health disparities, and implementing community and team-based health services for rural, underserved and vulnerable communities and populations. He serves on the American Academy of Family Physicians Commission on Governmental Advocacy and the American Hospital Association’s Governing Council Section on Rural or Small Hospitals. His leadership roles have included directing New Mexico’s Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), the faculty practice plan, and the Office of Rural Outreach.
He graduated from the UA College of Medicine in 1984, and did his family medicine residency at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where he worked as a faculty member for 25 years.
In 2011 Governor Susana Martinez appointed Derksen to Director of the New Mexico Office of Health Care Reform where he submitted the state’s health insurance exchange establishment proposal funded by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).
Derksen completed a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship in 2008 with U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman. He researched and drafted federal legislative provisions to improve the nation’s supply and distribution of the health workforce that were included in Title V of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.”
After returning from Washington, D.C., Derksen was president of the New Mexico Medical Society in 2009 and worked on medical homes legislation for the state’s Medicaid programs, signed into law (HB 710) in 2010. He served as President of the New Mexico Academy of Family Physicians (2000) and the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association (2003).
The Center for Rural Health, which is located within the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, is home to the Arizona State Office of Rural Health. The center partners with other state agencies and organizations to improve the health and wellness of rural underserved populations through service, research and education. It was recently named the 2013 Outstanding Rural Health Organization in the U.S. by the National Rural Health Association.