February 12, 2002 District of Columbia's Chief Health Officer to Deliver African American History Month Keynote Address
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Ivan C.A. Walks, M.D., chief health officer for the District of Columbia and director of the District's Department of Health, will deliver the keynote address for the Library's observance of African American History Month, at 10 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The program is free and open to the public. This year's national theme is "The Color Line Revisited: Is Racism Dead?"
"We are very happy to have someone of Dr. Walks' stature, a highly regarded health care officer, who is working very diligently to meet the challenges faced by the District of Columbia," said Andre Carl Whisenton, director of Human Resources Initiatives.
Dr. Walks is a neuropsychiatrist. He received his medical degree from the University of California at Davis School of Medicine and completed advanced medical training at the University of California at Los Angeles. He subsequently served as mental health commissioner for Los Angeles County, and later as medical director for managed care for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, where he oversaw the successful transition of the department to managed care.
Dr. Walks served as a member of the Executive Committee of the American Managed Behavioral Health Care Association and chaired its Public Policy/Public Sector Committee. He has participated in many government health policy initiatives and was a facilitator for the White House Conference on Mental Health. He is a member of federal working groups that created cultural competency standards and performance measurements for managed health care programs. As a result of his membership on the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees, he was selected to represent the association as part of the historic International Delegation of Psychiatric Leaders that traveled to the Vatican for an audience with Pope John Paul II. The California Legislature, the California Department of Education, the NAACP, and others have recognized Dr. Walks' contribution in the public policy arena.
Before joining D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams' administration in September 1999, Dr. Walks served as vice president and associate national medical director of ValueOptions Inc., a managed-health-care program development and operations firm, where he designed and implemented human services systems at a national and local level.
In his current position, Dr. Walks is responsible for setting health policy, promoting and assessing the health of District residents, implementing and administering the city's health insurance programs, and ensuring that a healthy environment and cultural quality health care are available to every resident and visitor in the nation's capital.