Dr. Anne Zink

Movers and shakers from public health, technology, infrastructure and governmental sectors are gathering in Chicago this month to explore ways to modernize, standardize and expand the power and influence of government health across the U.S.

Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink will play a prominent role in the gathering. She serves as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), a wealthy and influential nonprofit that includes more than 100,000 public health professionals across the nation. ASTHO is hosting the three-day conference, and Zink will be one of many speakers.

Zink is a controversial and increasingly influential player when it comes to directing public health policy both in Alaska and across the nation. As Alaska’s chief medical officer, she has enthusiastically and relentlessly pushed pro-Covid jab messaging. Since assuming the role of ASTHO president last year, she now enjoys the national stage as a leading activist for massive expansion of government health surveillance and the crackdown on so-called “misinformation.”

Zink also ardently supports the creation of what she calls a national “health data superhighway” which can grow and expand while building data collection and surveillance capabilities.

Appointed in 2019 by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to advise him on how to create and implement health policy across Alaska, Zink quickly became a polarizing figure for her largely uncritical support of experimental Covid shots, the downplaying of natural immunity and an outright refusal to publicly acknowledge the benefits of early treatment methods like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

Zink will welcome hundreds of state and local public health and private sector leaders who are expected to attend the May 23-25 Public Health TechXpo and Futures Forum. The stated goals are to provide a platform for technology, data, informatics, health and multi-sector leaders to influence government health leaders, agencies, corporate giants, non-profits and policy makers. A prominent focus will be on advancing all public health areas – from opioids and chronic disease to surveillance and health security.

“Innovators from the biggest names in tech to front-line practitioners at state and local health departments will be in one place over three days to collaborate on data modernization tactics and strategies,” Zink explained. “These diverse industry perspectives will create the perfect incubator to brainstorm and develop a blueprint for the future of public health data, which is the cornerstone of better health as a country.”

The conference is being underwritten by a number of health-tech giants such as Palantir and United Health Foundation, Google Health, Guidehouse, Booz Allen, HLN Consulting, IBM, Intelligent Medical Objects and many others.

Since taking over as ASTHO president in 2022, Zink has used her position to lobby Congress for massive funding increases for the CDC, HHS and other federal agencies. In March, she testified before Congress, urging lawmakers to approve $11.6 billion to grow the CDC, $10.5 billion in “discretionary funding” for the Health Resources and Services Administration, and nearly $1.2 billion for data modernization, preventative health services, hospital preparedness and other government health related initiatives and programs.

Zink also ardently supports the creation of what she calls a national “health data superhighway” which can grow and expand while building data collection and surveillance capabilities.


In October, Zink was a featured speaker at the Alaska State of Reform Health Policy Conference where she laid out her vision of expanding the capacity to share health data between governmental and private health agencies.

She also lamented the erosion of public trust in health officials, saying it has been “traumatic.”

This distrust came, in part, from health officials overstating the efficacy of Covid shots, Zink acknowledged. Rather than speaking with certainty about vaccines, Zink suggested officials take a more nuanced approach in the future, namely, by mastering the art of speaking “uncertainly” when it comes to describing vaccine effectiveness.

While admitting that health officials often made Covid decisions and recommendations based off limited data and “uncertainties,” Zink criticized those who cautioned people against getting the experimental Covid shots. She said so-called Covid “misinformation” was particularly troubling, especially when it led to “patients choosing to not get vaccinated because of misinformation.” She claimed this was a systemwide failure that must be addressed.

Zink’s concern over “misinformation,” (a term often used to describe those who questioned or challenged the changing recommendations from the CDC or Dr. Anthony Fauci) is also shared by her larger organization, which supports influencing journalists, libraries and others to oppose viewpoints that contradict certain governmental health recommendations.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Dr. Anne Zink is working with global tech giants to massively expand state health powers

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.