As a member of our nation’s uniformed services, a longtime health care program manager and most recently a regional health administrator in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Public Health Service CAPT Joshua Devine, Pharm.D., Ph.D., understands public health systems. He brings that depth and breadth of understanding to DMU as the newest member of its public health faculty.
“I’m really excited about joining a high-functioning team, continuing to work on the health challenges we have in the U.S. and educating future leaders to tackle them,” he says.
Dr. Devine had been the regional health administrator since 2019 for HHS Region 5, which is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 34 federally recognized tribes. He provided leadership and support from HHS with a focus on public health activities across the region.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge focus of our work along with other big public health challenges – drug overdose prevention, reducing infectious disease, addressing health disparities and strengthening mental health,” he says. “Right or wrong, there has been some politicization of public health work. Part of that has been tied to how we consume information. I’ve been amazed how much health misinformation is out there, and how it can cause confusion, harm people’s health and undermine our public health efforts.
“But that’s where the excitement comes in – there’s so much opportunity for a robust public health information infrastructure to help improve the quality of health information we consume,” he adds. “Toward that goal, we must continue efforts to build a healthier information environment for everyone and strive to keep public health work driven by data, science and research.”
Prior to joining HHS, Dr. Devine was the technical director for the Chicago Division of Financial Management and Fee for Service Operations in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). His focus was on regional and national implementation of Medicare and Innovation Center programs designed to provide patient-centered health care that promotes quality and improves outcomes. An officer in the uniformed services who’s managed health care programs for the past 22 years, he also worked for the Defense Health Agency, overseeing economic evaluation and outcomes research for pharmaceuticals covered under the Defense Department’s $7 billion TRICARE pharmacy program.
“Throughout my career, my goal has been helping the American people lead healthier lives,” he says.
He’s done so effectively, according to the organizations he’s worked for. Among his awards and accolades is the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Citizen®, which honors individuals who have worked on the front lines in delivering excellent services to the public for many years and in multiple roles.
A native of Cumming, IA, Dr. Devine earned his doctor of pharmacy degree at Drake University in 2000 and then joined the military. He knew about DMU through his father, Doug Devine, who earned his master’s degree in health care administration from the University. Now his new position at the University will let him combine his public health experiences and expertise with his longtime interest in teaching. Back in 2002, he was voted Preceptor of the Year at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; he noted then that “down the road, I may work in an academic setting.”
“A highly trained workforce in public health is so critical. I’ve always been passionate about playing a role in that,” he says. “Now I’ll get to play a role in training its future professionals and leaders.”