Dr. Ala Stanford leaves Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to return to her Philadelphia clinic
She served as the regional director of Region 3 for a little over a year.
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Dr. Ala Stanford's last day as director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Region 3, came on May 2. She was originally appointed to the position last April by President Joe Biden.
After just over a year in the role, she is leaving her position with the federal government to focus on her North Philadelphia clinic, the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity.
Melissa Heard, executive officer for Region 3, will serve as acting director until a new one can be appointed.
Marvin Figueroa, director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, HHS said in a statement that, “our whole team has benefited from her knowledge and experience.”
He added, “She has positively impacted and led, important regional priorities and the Biden-Harris administration is grateful for her service. IEA looks forward to all Dr. Stanford will accomplish to elevate the health care needs of historically marginalized communities in Pennsylvania, and beyond.”
While she was at HHS, Stanford shared information through roundtables she led and vaccine fairs. She also did outreach for the national mental health crisis hotline, 988, which was introduced in July 2022.
Dr. Stanford opened her namesake clinic in late 2021 as a continuation of her work at the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium (BDCC). The BDCC was founded by Stanford in 2020 with the goal of providing “COVID-19 testing and healthcare services to underserved communities in Philadelphia during the height of the pandemic.”
She found that many of the people who came to the BDCC for testing and vaccinations did not have access to quality healthcare. The clinic provides several services, including primary care and behavioral health.
Stanford told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she eventually wants to expand the clinic out of North Philadelphia, but is keeping her focus on the neighborhood first.
“I need to make sure that the 19132 zip code, where the life expectancy is one of the lowest in the city, has access to preventative care, screening, mental health, gynecology, pharmacy. We do not have enough ambulatory care centers in our zip codes with the lowest life expectancies,” she said.