Public Health Leadership in Arkansas 

Asa Hutchinson

Governor Hutchinson is head of the Executive Branch of Arkansas state government.  Dr. Smith reports directly to Governor Hutchinson.

Director and State Health Officer
Nathaniel Smith, MD, MPH

As a member of Governor Hutchinson's cabinet, Dr. Nate Smith serves as director and state health officer of the Arkansas Department of Health.  In this position, he provides senior scientific and executive leadership for the agency with more than 5,000 employees and a budget of more than $400 million delivering services throughout the state in more than 94 different locations.  Dr. Smith has a strong commitment to the mission of ADH, “To protect and improve the health and well-being of all Arkansans.”  In his role as director, he strives to help colleagues achieve their full potential using public health best practices supported by science-based decisions.

Dr. Bates Deputy State Health Officer and Chief Science Officer
Joseph Bates, MD, MS

Dr. Joseph Bates serves as the Deputy State Health Officer, Chief Science Officer and Science Advisory Committee Chair. He is the principal advisor for medical and public health science issues and facilitates the development and implementation of public health policy. Dr. Bates serves as Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Professor of Epidemiology at the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. He helps to facilitate coordination between the Department and the College to ensure that the best public health science guides the Department. Dr. Bates is also a Professor in the UAMS College of Medicine.

Deputy Director for Public Health Programs
Stephanie Williams, RNP, MPH

Stephanie Williams, RNP, MPH works in coordination with the department director and state health officer to set policy direction for the Department and assure that programmatic responsibilities are met. This position provides advice and recommendations to the director on key policy and program decisions and participates in the final decision making process within Department of Health. The deputy director for public health programs is responsible for multiple programs and areas. Specifically, this position directly oversees the Center for Health Advancement, the Center for Health Protection, the Center for Local Public Health, the Center for Public Health Practice, the Public Health Laboratory, the Office of Health Communications and Marketing and the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. The deputy director for public health programs acts as the director if the director is absent or disabled, and when designated by the director, serves in his place as a member of boards, committees, authorities or commissions of which the director is by law a member.

Ann Purvis

Deputy Director for Administration
Ann Purvis, JD

Ann Purvis oversees all aspects of financial management, human resources, information technology, internal audits, policies and procedures and facilities support services. She has more than 20 years’ experience in state government, most recently as administrator in the Office of Intergovernmental Services at the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA). She was the DFA designee to several finance-, health- and technology-related boards and councils. She has a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She has been general counsel for the Secretary of State and Assistant Attorney General in the Attorney General’s Office.