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FOR RELEASE: November 13, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

State Board of Health Announces New Health Commissioner

The Oklahoma State Board of Health announced today the selection of James Michael Crutcher, MD, MPH, as the new Commissioner of Health. He replaces Dr. Les Beitsch, who resigned Oct. 25.

An Oklahoma native, Crutcher previously served as Deputy Commissioner of Disease and Prevention Services at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, a position he had held since March 2001. Prior to that appointment, he had served as State Epidemiologist since joining the agency in 1995.

Dr. Gordon Deckert, chair of the Board of Health Search Committee, said Crutcher was chosen following a search process that included interviews with Crutcher and representatives from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, other related state agencies, the health and medical communities, as well as individuals representing constituencies on aging, children and the faith community.

Crutcher received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1980. After completing an internship at the University of Oklahoma Hospitals, he began his medical career as a Flight Surgeon and Preventive Medicine Officer for the U.S. Navy, serving for 14 years. He obtained his Master of Public Health degree and completed a residency in Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in 1988. He is currently a Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserves.

Crutcher’s annual salary will be $180,000.

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