December 2, 2021

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Va. health and human resources secretary departs for new Seattle post

Dr. Daniel Carey to be CMO of Providence Physician Enterprise

Kate Andrews


Dr. Daniel Carey, Virginia’s former secretary of health and human services.

Updated 5:45 p.m., Oct. 22 

Dr. Daniel Carey has stepped down as the state’s secretary of health and human resources to become chief medical officer for one of the nation’s largest medical groups, based in Washington state. A deputy secretary, Dr. Vanessa Walker Harris, has been appointed to replace him as Virginia’s health secretary, the governor’s office announced Friday.

According to an announcement from Providence, a nonprofit Catholic health system covering the western United States, Carey will join Providence Physician Enterprise as its CMO at the start of 2022 and be based in Seattle, leading the multistate health care group with more than 11,000 health care providers. Included in the organization are Providence Medical Group, Swedish Medical Group, Pacific Medical Centers and other affiliates in Alaska, California, Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Providence Physician Enterprise is part of Providence’s health system, which encompasses 52 hospitals, 1,000 clinics and 120,000 employees in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

As Gov. Ralph Northam’s term winds down, some cabinet-level staff have left recently for new positions in the private sector, including former Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne, who is now senior vice president and chief of staff at Sentara Healthcare.

Carey, a Lynchburg-based cardiologist and former senior vice president and chief medical officer at Centra before joining Northam’s administration in 2018, has held a high profile during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was responsible for expanding access to health care, including targeted outreach of those who qualified for Medicaid when it was expanded to more Virginians. He also led recruitment of health care professionals to assist in testing, contact tracing and vaccination campaigns during the pandemic. In May, Carey and Northam unveiled a new state mental health program to provide education to primary physicians on managing pediatric mental health, as well as creating an accessible network of psychiatrists, psychiatrists and social workers who work with children.

Dr. Vanessa Walker Harris was promoted from deputy to secretary.

A University of Virginia and Harvard Medical School alum, Carey served for 15 years in the U.S. Air Force in active duty and reserve status, retiring as a major, and served as president of the Medical Society of Virginia and the MSV Foundation.

Harris was director of the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Family Health Services from 2015 to 2020, when she was appointed as a deputy secretary of health and human resources. She has focused on chronic disease, injury and violence prevention, tobacco use prevention and oral health during her time in public health, and previously, Harris practiced clinical endocrinology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. She is a graduate of Hampton University and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Va. health and human resources secretary departs for new Seattle post