On November 19, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the appointment of Melissa Stafford Jones as the Region IX regional director.
“I am delighted to welcome Melissa Stafford Jones to our team of regional directors at HHS,” said Secretary Burwell. “Melissa is a devoted public servant, and I look forward to working with her to help the people of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the U.S. Pacific territories secure the building blocks of healthy, productive lives.”
As a regional director, Stafford Jones will serve as a key representative of the Department of Health and Human Services in working with federal, state, territorial, local, and tribal officials on health and social service issues, including implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The Region IX office is based in San Francisco, and works with officials in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.
For more than a decade, Stafford Jones has been a senior leader at the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, serving most recently as the Chief Executive Officer. In this role, she has been a vocal advocate for ensuring access to care for low-income and uninsured patients throughout the state of California.
In her 20-year career in health care, she has worked with a wide range of policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state and national levels on an extensive platform of health policy matters. She helped implement national health reform and Medicaid coverage expansion in California. She also served as a leader in developing strategies to maintain a strong health care safety net, while at the same time, utilizing new strategies like the blending of physical and behavioral health services, and promoting cultural competence and language access for patients.
In her new role as the regional director, she will bring her significant knowledge of the Affordable Care Act and what it means for the patients, providers, and health systems to the Region IX office.
Stafford Jones is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Saint Mary’s College of California and lives in Walnut Creek, California.