On Feb. 22, the New Mexico State Senate voted unanimously to confirm Lynn Gallagher as Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Gallagher was appointed as secretary designate by Gov. Susana Martinez following the passing of Secretary Retta Ward in March 2016.
Prior to her appointment, Gallagher served as deputy secretary of NMDOH since 2013 and as general counsel for the Aging and Long-Term Services Department.
“Lynn is a dedicated public servant who demonstrates strong leadership and dedication to improving the health of New Mexicans,” Martinez said. “Lynn is passionate about making New Mexico a better and healthier place, and I am confident in her abilities to lead our largest state agency.”
Among the many public health priorities, Gallagher is wants to address substance misuse, teen births, diabetes and obesity and continue the department’s goal of improving health outcomes in New Mexico.
Teen births ages 15 to 17 have declined and are now at their lowest point in many decades. Through tobacco cessation programs, cigarette smoking among adolescents has declined to nearly one in 10, the lowest rate ever measured in the state. And New Mexico’s childhood obesity rate continues to trend downward, as many other U.S. states have experienced increases.
Under Gallagher, the department will focus on health issues that have the greatest impact on New Mexico’s population health status, expanding community engagement and working on a sustainability plan that will help the agency be more efficient and effective as the future of public health services evolve.
Gallagher, a native of Truth or Consequence, has lived and worked in New York and Florida providing state and federal compliance and contract management. She returned to New Mexico in 2009 where she entered private law practice before entering state government.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.