Dr. Kristina Box, who has been delivering babies for three decades and led efforts to help low-income women receive free health screenings, has been named Indiana state health commissioner.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday that Box will step into her new role Oct. 16.
She succeeds Dr. Jerome Adams, who resigned to become U.S. surgeon general. Adams, who had served as Indiana’s top doctor since 2014, was sworn as surgeon general earlier this month.
As health commissioner, Box will oversee offices that regulate hospitals, laboratories, nursing homes and long-term care. The health department also collects information on vital records, diseases and epidemiology.
She also will lead the state’s efforts to curb infant mortality, attack the opioid epidemic, reduce smoking rates and curb other unhealthy behaviors.
“I can think of no one better suited than Dr. Box to lead our state’s health department at this critical time in Indiana history,” Holcomb said in written remarks.
The governor’s office did not say how many candidates applied or were interviewed.
According to a 2013 IBJ profile, Box became hooked on the medical field while studying the systems of the body during sixth-grade health class. “I thought it was absolutely the most interesting thing I had ever done,” she said.
Box started with Community Health Network in 1987 and was the second female OB/GYN in the system.
Since 2015, she has served as the Physician Lead for Community Health Network’s Women’s Service Line, developing partnerships with area children’s hospitals to improve care and decrease health care costs.
She has also served on Indiana’s State Task Force for Neonatal Abstinence, which pushed efforts to help newborns who are exposed to opiate drugs in the womb.
“Throughout my career, I have focused on promoting the health of my individual patients and their unborn children,” Box said in a written statement.
She earned her undergraduate degree at Indiana University in Bloomington and her medical degree at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis. She completed a four-year residency in OB/GYN at IU.