Jonathan Ballard

40 Under 40 Class of 2019

New Hampshire

Chief Medical Officer

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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My goal is to further align the clinical and social services offered by the Department of Health and Human Services with public health priorities and expertise. I also plan to work toward the goal of making every health-related encounter with persons as meaningful as possible in relation to achieving mutually appreciated health goals.

BOLD SOLUTION: Jonathan implemented a childhood hepatitis A immunization requirement for schools and group settings. This was all done before an outbreak of acute hepatitis A was experienced in Kentucky, and was a key reason why the outbreak did not affect children nearly as much as adults in the state. Additional work around responding to the acute hepatitis A outbreak included problem-solving around data collection and creating enhanced data questionnaires as part of the outbreak response. This work led to Jonathan’s co-authorship of an article identifying homelessness as a new risk factor for acute hepatitis A, and contributed to a national clinical policy change for vaccination recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Five Questions for Jonathan

1. What is one of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on?

Jonathan with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and his Department of Health and Human Services colleagues at a press conference proclaiming September as suicide prevention month in New Hampshire.

The creation of a comprehensive opioid data system to understand the downstream impacts and the upstream social determinants of health that contribute to substance use disorder.

2. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An ice cream man, so I could eat it whenever I wanted.

3. What would success in public health look like to you?

A never-failing mindset that looks to how we can prevent problems instead of treating them.

4. What’s a story or experience that keeps you going, even when you’re feeling challenged?

My ancestors moved to America and eventually settled in central Kentucky in the 1700s, and I am sure the decision to move to a new land and life on the frontier was not easy. Generations have gone by, and each generation has had successively better and healthier lives.  I now look at my children and wonder if I can help improve life for their generation.

5. Describe yourself in three words.

Curious, caring, concerned.