Jan Malcom

Jan Malcolm

Commissioner

Minnesota Department of Health

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When Jan Malcolm became the state’s health commissioner in 2019, her priorities included addressing chronic underfunding of public health infrastructure, which created inequities in access and outcomes—not to mention the core work of producing information and data for policymakers and the public. She chuckles when she recalls those placid days. She believes Covid has produced unprecedented frustration with the public health sector “because this is a novel virus and consensus was not possible.” Beyond the evolving pandemic, she is concerned about its side effects—“mental health, substance abuse, chronic conditions getting worse, not better.” She also wants to talk more about why so many Minnesotans are unhealthy to begin with. And she’s desperately worried about the loss of tens of thousands of health care workers from burnout. Her hope in 2022 is to build consensus for use of American Rescue Plan funds, regulatory flexibility, and rural health infrastructure.