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Membership Roster & Biographies

Voting Members

Ward Hurlburt, M.D., MPH, of Anchorage, is the Chief Medical Officer for the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services and serves as chair of the Commission. He currently also serves as the Director of the state Division of Public Health.  Dr. Hurlburt is board certified in surgery, medical management, preventive medicine, and as a physician executive.  He currently holds medical licenses in Alaska, Washington and California.  He previously worked for the U.S. Public Health Service for 32 years, including long assignments with the Indian Health Service in Alaska.  During that period he served as hospital administrator in Dillingham, hospital administrator and chief of surgery at the Alaska Native Medical Center, and as deputy director of the Alaska Area Native Health Service.  Since retirement from the U.S. PHS he has worked as vice president, chief medical officer and consultant for managed care organizations in Washington, Utah and Oregon.  Dr. Hurlburt obtained his medical degree from George Washington Medical School, and completed a Master’s of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University.  He fills the seat designated for the state’s Chief Medical Officer (designated chair).

Patrick Branco, of Ketchikan, is the regional CEO of Ketchikan General Hospital.  He has also served in the administration of Divine Providence Health Center in Ivanhoe, Minnesota as well as the Fairview-University Medical Center in Hibbing, Minnesota. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1979 – 1995 as a strategic medical planner, medical staff administrator, and director of ambulatory care.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in healthcare services from Southern Illinois University in 1984 and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Baylor University in 1991.  He is currently Chairman of the Board for the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA).  He fills the seat designated for the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (2nd term; term expires 1/15/2015).

C. Keith Campbell, of Seward, is a retired hospital administrator and national leader of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Campbell served as chief executive officer of Seward General Hospital from 1971-90, and also held interim jobs as administrator of Seward’s Wesleyan Rehabilitation and Care Center, and of the Seward Chamber of Commerce. As a member of AARP’s national board of directors from 1996-2002, he served at different times as chairman and treasurer and on numerous AARP committees dealing with health care, insurance, finance, and government affairs. He has also been elected to the Seward City Council and school board, and to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. He fills the seat representing Alaskan health care consumers (2nd term; term expires 1/15/2015).

Valerie Davidson, of Anchorage, is senior director of legal and inter-governmental affairs for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage, with extensive experience working in Bethel on Alaska Native health and tribal governance issues. She has previously worked for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation and as a state legislative staffer on rural health care issues. Davidson earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Alaska Southeast, and a law degree from the University of New Mexico’s School of Law. She fills the seat representing Alaska’s tribal health community (1st term; term expires 1/15/2014).

Jeffrey Davis, of Anchorage, has been involved in the delivery and funding of health care services for over 25 years. He has served 13 years as president of Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, which insures 180,000 Alaskans statewide, and previously was Premera’s vice president of network development in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Whitman College and a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Washington. He fills the seat representing Alaska’s health insurance industry (2nd term; term expires 1/15/2016).

Emily Ennis, of Fairbanks, is the Executive Director of Fairbanks Resource Agency, a non-profit corporation serving Interior Alaskans who have disabilities. She is currently the President of the Alaska State Association on Developmental Disabilities, and also serves on the American Network of Community Options and Resources.  She is a former mental health specialist with the Marion County (Oregon) Mental Health Program, earned a bachelor’s degree from Western State College in 1970, and a master’s degree in behavioral sciences from Western State College in 1972.  She fills the seat designated for the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (1st term; term expires 1/15/2014).

Col. Thomas Harrell, M.D., of Anchorage, is the Commander of the Air Force/Veterans’ Affairs Joint Venture Hospital at Elmendorf-Ft. Richardson Joint Base. He is also the Alaskan Command Surgeon, and the Senior Market Manager for the Anchorage Multi-service Market.   He has served in the U.S. Air Force for 14 years in several capacities, including Chief of Aeromedical Services for the 435 MDG at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and Commander of the Surgical Operations Squadron at RAF Lakenheath England.  A board-certified cardiologist, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida in 1988, a medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine in 1992, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Air War College in 2011.  He is a recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, and is a senior flight surgeon with experience in a variety of aircraft. He fills the seat designated for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care industry (1st term; term expires 1/15/2015).

Allen Hippler, of Anchorage, is the chief financial officer of Faulkner Walsh Constructors.  From 2003-2010 he was a vice president with First National Bank of Alaska.  Active in the Bethel community during the time that he lived there, he was a member of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce from 2004-2010 and a member of the City of Bethel Finance Committee from 2003-2009.  He served as the committee’s chairman from 2007-2009.  Hippler holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Dallas.  He fills the seat designated for the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce (1st term; term expires 1/15/2014).

David Morgan, of Anchorage, is the Director of Reimbursement for Southcentral Foundation.  He is also the former Chairman of the Municipality of Anchorage Health and Human Services Commission.  He has worked in health care for over 30 years, serving Alaskan health care organizations’ community health center operations, financial planning, and government relations for much of that time.  He is a member of the Alaska Primary Care Association, the Medicaid Tribal Task Force, the Healthcare Financial Manager Association, and the Alaska Medical Group Management Association.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University.  He fills the seat representing Alaska’s community health centers (2nd term; term expires 01/15/2016).

Larry Stinson, M.D., of Anchorage is an anesthesiologist and pain specialist.  A University of Alaska and WWAMI graduate, Dr. Stinson is a WWAMI and University of Washington adjunct clinical instructor.  He has previously served on the Alaska State Medical Board as well as other state and community positions. (2nd term; term expires 1/15/2016).

Robert Urata, M.D., of Juneau, has been a family physician with Valley Medical Care since 1986.  He is also the medical director for the Wrangell Medical Center, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine with the University Of Washington School Of Medicine, and has served as the medical director for Hospice and Homecare of Juneau since 1986.  An active member of his community, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Juneau Chamber of Commerce in 2006. He was also named Alaska Family Physician of the Year by the Alaska Academy of Family Physicians in 1996.  He formerly served on the Governor’s Health Care Strategies Planning Council from 2006 to 2008. Board certified in family medicine with added qualifications in geriatric medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, Dr. Urata earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northwestern University and a medical degree from the University of Washington.  He was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska.  Dr. Urata fills the seat representing Alaska’s primary care physicians (1st term; term expires 1/15/2015).

Non-Voting Members

Jim Puckett, of Juneau, is the Director of the Division of Retirement and Benefits in the Alaska Department of Administration.  In that role since April 2011, he oversees the employer and member services sections of the division, including retirement, health and optional benefits, information services, accounting, and administrative support.  Puckett has a variety of work and leadership experiences in the mining and oil and gas industries, construction, teaching, school administration and business ownership.  A graduate of Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, he worked for a number of years in and near Fairbanks before leaving Alaska to complete his college education, returning to teach here in Alaska.  Puckett was appointed by Governor Parnell to the seat representing the Office of the Governor.

Representative Wes Keller, of Wasilla, has represented the Wasilla area in the Alaska State House of Representatives since 2007.  He is chair of the House Health, Education and Social Services Committee, and previously served the HSS Committee as staff and co-chair.  Keller had previously worked eight years as a legislative aide, and as an Alaska Air National Guard pilot, building contractor, oilfield worker and contracting trainer.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1986.  Keller was appointed by House Speaker Mike Chenault to fill the seat representing the House of Representatives on the commission.

Senator John Coghill, of North Pole, has represented Interior Alaska in the Alaska State Legislature since 1998. Coghill served 5 years in the United States Air Force and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. He is a previous small business owner and has worked in construction, teaching, and ministries. He is the Senate Majority leader, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Co-Chair of the In-State Energy Committee. Coghill was appointed by Senate President Charlie Huggins to fill the seat representing the Senate on the commission.

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