The Region 9 Office, based in San Francisco, California, serves Arizona, California, Hawaii (HI), Nevada, American Samoa (AS), the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (MP), the Federated States of Micronesia (FM), Guam (GU), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), the Republic of Palau (PW) and more than 157 federally-recognized tribes including the Navajo Nation—the largest tribe in the U.S.
Region 9 shares a border with Mexico and encompasses nine time zones including the International Date Line. Region 9 is diverse in population (California has 40 million people compared to the Republic of Palau with 20,000 people), geography (rural and urban), languages (44% of Californians speak a non-English language at home), and unique demography (Hawaii is the only place in the world where there is no majority group). Given its rich regional diversity, a health equity lens is applied to all regional work across the spectrum of public health, science, environmental justice, and the health impacts of climate change.
Region 9 holds a steadfast commitment to addressing the needs of disproportionately affected populations and the equitable distribution of public health services and immunizations through a prevention-based model. In doing so, ORHO in Region 9 leads the way through partnership, innovation, resource prioritization, and a collective support to the communities most in need via a comprehensive public health “systems” approach.
Region 9 Health Operations Staff
Region 9 Regional Health Administrator
Commander (CDR) Matthew Johns, MPH
Commander (CDR) Matthew Johns, MPH is the Regional Health Administrator (RHA) for Region 9 and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). CDR Johns is the senior federal public health official and scientist for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) in Region 9.
In addition to his duties as Regional Health Administrator, CDR Johns serves as the Deputy for the Division of Preventive Medicine and the Chief Epidemiologist for the PHS-2 Rapid Deployment Force. He deployed in response to the 2009 Haiti Earthquake, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the Unaccompanied Children mission on the US - Mexico border in June 2014, and more recently to Hurricanes Maria, Harvey, Irma, and Florence. In November 2014, CDR Johns deployed to Liberia as part of the U.S. Public Health Service Ebola response team where he served as the Chief of Preventive Medicine for the Monrovia Medical Unit. Prior to joining Region 9, CDR Johns served in the HHS Office of Global Affairs (OGA) where he was the Senior Global Health Security Advisor for the Asia and Pacific Region and a Senior Advisor and Liaison to the Command Surgeon, US Indo-Pacific Command. As part of his role with OGA, he assisted in the strategic alignment of over $1.5 Billion in U.S. funding and resources across Asia and throughout the Pacific.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, CDR Johns led efforts in Region 9 on public health analytics and epidemiology, alternate care strategies, vaccine coordination, and health equity. Through these efforts, CDR Johns developed a new strategic partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on advanced analytics, equity, community resilience, and the impacts of climate change on jurisdictions across the Region.
CDR Johns earned his Master of Public Health degree in Global Health/Infectious Diseases from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Public Health from Northern Illinois University. His areas of expertise include emerging infectious disease surveillance, epidemiology and response, and public health capacity building.
Senior Public Health Advisor
Kay Strawder, JD, MSW
Regional Minority Health Analyst
Sheila L. James
Regional Women’s Health Analyst
LCDR Venus Uttchin, BSN, MPH