Huckabee Appoints Interim Director for State Health Department

MAY 6, 2005 - Posted at 7:45 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Huckabee has appointed Paul Halverson, a professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, as interim director of the state Health Department.

He will be the permanent head of the agency once it is rolled into the Department of Human Services later in the year.

Huckabee says Halverson will have to deal with a department in transition that lost previous director, Dr. Fay Boozman, when he died in an accident on his farm.

Huckabee says he hopes the appointment will bring stability to the department.

Halverson must help manage the department's merger into DHS in August.  Also, Halverson will lead the agency as it could lose its laboratory license September 1 because of improper equipment tests.

Halverson pledged to straighten out the lab situation.

Halverson says his top priority is to continue with Huckabee's Healthy Arkansas Initiative.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)