Dr. Stephen Sears new state epidemiologist

Dr. Stephen Sears, a former administrator at Mercy Hospital in Portland, has joined the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention as the new state epidemiologist.

Sears was vice president for medical administration and chief quality officer at Mercy. From 1997 to 2007, he was chief medical officer at MaineGeneral Health, and he wrote a health column in the Kennebec Journal for 15 years.

Sears, who has done a lot of influenza research, said in a written statement that the H1N1 outbreak convinced him it was time to return to working in public health.

He said that, in his new position, he hopes to use funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to battle hospital-acquired infections.

Dr. Kathleen Gensheimer, who served as the state epidemiologist for 28 years, left the position at the end of June.

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