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Governor appoints local doctor to state health board

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Governor Bill Ritter appointed a long-time Craig family physician to the State Board of Health on Thursday.

Dr. Larry Kipe, a physician at Moffat Family Clinic and The Memorial Hos--pital, will serve the board -- a regulatory committee responsible for overseeing public health policies -- as an at-large representative. Kipe is also the president of the Colorado Aca--demy of Family Physicians.

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He said the board appointment affords him an opportunity to affect many lives by helping shape public health policy. As a doctor, he is limited to helping people on a patient-by-patient basis.

"I can affect a lot more lives doing something like this," Kipe said. He added, "That is the allure."

Nine members make up the State Board of Health, which advises the Colorado Department of Public Health executive director, and helps craft department policies regarding public health laws of the state.

As president of the Academy of Family Physicians, Kipe participates in the organization's mission to provide cost-effective health care for families across the state. The purview of the state health board is much broader than a singular issue, Kipe said.

Kipe, 52, has practiced medicine since 1985 and worked in Craig since 1989. He has previously practiced in the Air Force, at bases in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Ankara, Turkey.

Kipe was one of three appointments the governor made to the state health board. All of the governor's nominations require Senate approval.

Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said the governor's office doesn't anticipate any of the candidates having trouble being confirmed. Kipe will appear next week before the health and human services Senate committee for a preliminary interview.

If approved by the Senate, Kipe's board term would begin in May and expire in March 2011.

Dreyer said the governor chose Kipe because of his "strong understanding of rural health care needs and health care policies." Being a Craig physician, Kipe also brings geographic diversity to the board, the spokesman said.

Kipe will be one of two physicians serving on the state board.

Board service will require one day a month, Kipe said, and shouldn't interfere with his work at the clinic or with the Academy of Family Physicians. His academy term expires in July, but he will remain a board member.

Kipe said he was honored the governor chose him and he looks forward to serving the state by looking after its public health.

"It's not about the money," he said, citing both the academy and state board positions as voluntary. "It's about public service. It's about giving back for being very blessed."

  • Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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