State Health Officer

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Gov. Doug Burgum appointed Dr. Nizar Wehbi (Nee-zar Wee-bee) to serve as North Dakota’s State Health Officer, effective May 1st, 2021.

Prior to his appointment, Dr. Wehbi served as Deputy Director of the Center for Health Policy and Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha.

As the Center for Health Policy’s Deputy Director, Dr. Wehbi conducted research and policy analysis to inform policymaking with a focus on improving population health and the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. healthcare system. In that role, he led initiatives to address binge drinking and colorectal cancer and conducted analysis on the healthcare workforce shortage. As an assistant professor in the College of Public Health at UNMC, Wehbi directed the Master’s in Health Administration (MHA) program, with teaching areas of focus that include health administration, health policy, the U.S. healthcare system and human resources management. He also co-led a university-wide faculty leadership program.

Prior to that, Wehbi served as Senior Planner in the Strategic Planning and Business Development Department at Nebraska Medicine. He began his career in clinical medicine, caring for patients and later, as an instructor of surgery at UNMC, joining a research team to identify biomarkers for early detection and risk assessment of bladder and prostate cancers.

In addition to his medical degree, Dr. Wehbi has a Master’s degree in public health and an MBA from the University of Nebraska. He also holds a graduate certificate in quality, patient safety and outcomes research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and currently serves a three-year term on the Board of Governors of ACHE. Wehbi has served on the National Board of Public Health Examiners since 2013 and on the Board of Directors of Clarkson College, in Omaha, since 2019.