Pence names Adams Indiana’s health commissioner

Gov. Mike Pence has named Indianapolis anesthesiologist Dr. Jerome Adams to be commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health.

Adams currently serves as an assistant professor of clinical anesthesia at Indiana University School of Medicine and as a staff anesthesiologist at Eskenazi Health. He plans to continue working at Eskenazi even as he serves his role as health commissioner. He previously, was an anesthesiologist at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie and a physician rapid responder at Indianapolis Orthopedic Hospital.

Adams chairs the professional diversity committee for the American Society of Anesthesiologists and serves on the executive committee for the Indiana State Medical Association.

Adams succeeds Dr. William VanNess, who resigned in August for personal reasons.

Pence said Wednesday that Adams' public service and academic achievements make him the ideal candidate to serve as health commissioner.

“I am confident that he will bring his extensive health care experience and insights to the Indiana State Department of Health and continue the great work of the agency as they strive to improve the health of all Hoosiers,” Pence said.

Adams joins the agency in the midst of a major effort to try to curb the state’s unusually high infant mortality rate. VanNess had also been working to try to promote the governor’s plan to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan to provide health insurance to more low-income Hoosiers.

Adams is to assume his new role on Oct. 22.

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