Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday the appointment of Renee Mallory, RN, BSN, as interim secretary of health, and Jennifer Dillaha, M.D., as director of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).
Mallory replaces Dr. Jose Romero, who resigned as health secretary earlier this month.
Mallory previously served as chief of staff for ADH, where she oversaw all aspects of financial management, information technology, governmental affairs, human resources, policies and procedures, legal services, health communications, internal audit and facilities support services.
“Ms. Mallory began working for the Arkansas Department of Health 33 years ago and has been integral as a leader in several programs that have benefitted the state.” Hutchinson said, “She has invaluable experience serving the state and will be a great fit as interim Secretary of Health.”
Mallory began her career at ADH in 1988 as a nurse surveyor for health facility services. She has served in various roles, and most recently was the deputy director for public health programs from 2018 to 2021. She was a past designee of the secretary on the Tobacco Settlement Commission and the Arkansas State and Public School Employees Life and Health Insurance Board, where she previously served as chair.
Dillaha has played a leading role in the Arkansas Department of Health since joining in 2001.
In August, Dillaha was named chief medical officer, where her role was to provide leadership and guidance for addressing Arkansas’ most pressing health problems, including COVID-19. She is a physician with specialty training in internal medicine and subspecialty training in infectious diseases and in geriatric medicine.
Prior to her current roles, Dillaha served as the state epidemiologist from March 2020 to August 2021, special advisor for strategic initiatives in the office of the director from June 2010 to April 2013, and director of the Center for Health Advancement from August 2005 to June 2010 at ADH.
“Dr. Dillaha has played a significant role in guiding the state through the last two years of the pandemic,” Hutchinson said. “She has shown her dedication to Arkansas, and I have full confidence that she will continue to lead the state in improved health outcomes with the same dedication.”
Photo courtesy of the governor’s office. Pictured (L to R): Renee Mallory and Dr. Jennifer Dillaha