Dr. Cara Christ, M.D., M.S., Blue Cross Blue Shield
Dr. Cara Christ, M.D., M.S., is Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. Prior to joining Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Dr. Christ led the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) as the longest-serving director, also having served as chief medical officer, licensing director, and deputy director of public health since joining the department in 2008.
At BCBSAZ, Dr. Christ oversees the Clinical Excellence division including: Clinical Therapeutics, Provider Partnerships, Clinical Quality, Wellness and Disease Management, Integrated Care Management, Clinical Operations, High-Cost Containment Review, and Medicare Performance (Stars). Clinical Excellence represents clinical and non-clinical teams aiming to make healthcare sustainable for our marketplace and enhance quality of care. To achieve these goals, Dr. Christ’s teams implement programs that drive improvement in clinical outcomes, enhance the customer experience, and maximize value of the healthcare delivery system. These initiatives fall into several focus areas, including affordability, operational excellence, behavioral health, and value-based care.
Being dedicated to public and population health her entire career life, Dr. Christ most recently led the statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona, including the administration of more than 1.6 million doses of vaccine at nationally recognized state mass-vaccination centers and development of a statewide Surge Line to ensure hospital capacity. She also led the state’s opioid epidemic emergency response, oversaw the state’s Zika prevention activities, and led Arizona’s successful responses to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza, 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, and 2015 and 2016 measles outbreaks.
Throughout her public health career, Dr. Christ has coordinated Arizona’s public health surveillance systems, implemented public health interventions, provided leadership and public health expertise for the Arizona State Health Improvement Plan, recruited and supported hospitals for certification as “Infectious Disease Treatment Centers of Excellence,” led the implementation of the Maternal Mortality Breakthrough Action Plan, and overseen the development and implementation of 20 articles of rules, allowing for integration of behavioral and physical health while streamlining and decreasing the regulatory burden for Arizona’s health care institutions.
Dr. Christ, an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University. She earned her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson.
A passionate fan of all things Disney, she also holds a “Ducktorate” from Disney University in Disney-style management. Dr. Christ is a busy mom to three school-age kids and, when she is not busy working, you will find her playing with her family in a Disney Park or training for her next runDisney half-marathon