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DPH Commissioner

Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, MD, FCAP

Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, MD, FCAP is a board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologist. She was appointed commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health on Oct. 1, 2012. The commissioner serves as the chief executive officer for the Department for Public Health in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and assures that the public health vision of the administration is implemented. The commissioner is responsible for all legislatively mandated and elective state public health activities performed by the approximately 400 state employees. The position has frequent contact with other senior officials in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as well as those from other state agencies, boards and commissions. In addition, the position has regular contact with members of the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office. The commissioner serves as the senior state health officer for the commonwealth and is the primary bridge between the state and various federal government agencies supporting health related activities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The commissioner has various mandated responsibilities related to overseeing local health departments operations and serves as the primary link between the state and the directors of the local health departments. This close relationship helps promote an integrated approach to public health programming across all jurisdictions and public/private partnerships throughout the commonwealth.

Mayfield Gibson began as the division director for laboratory services under the KY Department for Public Health in April 2005. Her most recent and nationally recognized contributions to the commonwealth include the standardization and applications of clinical laboratory reporting through an electronic information exchange. In August 2011, Kentucky was the recipient of the national Public Health and Medicaid Award for Collaboration in Health IT. Under the leadership of Mayfield Gibson, the state laboratory contributed to this prestigious award when structured laboratory data was electronically exchanged with statewide providers. This exchange enabled the meeting of Meaningful Use metrics. Mayfield Gibson’s contributions in information technology were also recognized by the College of American Pathologist in the April 2011 issue of CAP Today, State’s aim: Leader in electronic lab data exchange.  The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) also recently acknowledged the contributions of Mayfield Gibson and her staff in the 2010 APHL Annual Report, Moving toward Interoperability-The Future of Public Health. This recognition highlighted the successful building of the HL7 message format, translating messages to the Public Health Laboratory Interoperability Project, configuring in-house messaging systems for encryption of data and securely connecting to the CDC for reporting of critical disease data. Mayfield Gibson was honored by APHL when invited to be the opening plenary speaker at the 2010 APHL annual meeting, Public Health Lab Assumes Pivotal Role in KY’s Comprehensive Health Information Exchange. An update from the 2010 APHL annual meeting on Kentucky’s progress in meeting meaningful use through the health information exchange was presented at the most recent APHL annual meeting in May 2012. Mayfield Gibson’s health information team recently presented at a newborn screening international conference in Finland, June 2012 with emphasis on the health information exchange.

Mayfield Gibson and the Division of Laboratory Services strive to bring relevant and efficient testing technology to the Commonwealth. In May 2011, she and her lab team introduced a new test to the public health lab’s test menu: rapid TB molecular testing with rifampin drug resistance. This test reduced turnaround time for TB detection and drug resistance from four weeks to six hours. Mayfield Gibson also expanded the state’s newborn screening testing panel in 2005 from four to 48 tests. It was discovered shortly after the expansion that Kentucky was most likely number one in the world for a specific fatty acid oxidation disorder. These findings were presented by her at the International Society of Neonatal Screening in Japan, 2006. Another clinically significant contribution included Mayfield Gibson’s analytical evaluation of Troponin, which resulted in FDA clearance. Troponin is now the standard in the evaluation of patients suspected of a heart attack.

Previously, Mayfield Gibson practiced pathology and continues to be an associate professor at the University of Louisville. Mayfield Gibson is active on several state and national medical committees. Most recently and just prior to assuming the role as the state health official, she was invited to serve on two major health initiatives, an FDA subgroup for process analysis on the new Food Safety Modernization Act and the joint APHL and CDC Laboratory Efficiency Initiative.

Mayfield Gibson looks forward to her new role as the state health official for Kentucky and is honored to be a new member of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO.) She looks forward to collaborating with ASTHO and other public and private partners to improve the health status of Kentucky.

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