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New Mexico’s MMJ Program Head Retta Ward Dead After Medical Episode

SANTA FE — New Mexico Health Secretary Retta Ward died in Santa Fe this morning after an apparent medical episode that led to a car crash, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office says.

Ward, 62, had headed the department, the largest state agency, since January 2013. She previously served as Cabinet secretary of the Aging and Long-Term Services Department.

She had joined Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration in February 2011. Before that, she was a high school biology teacher in Arizona and had also worked for the Arizona Department of Health Services and for Albuquerque Public Schools.

Martinez said she was “completely heartbroken” to hear of Ward’s death.

“She was an amazing public servant who enjoyed her job immensely and earned the respect of her fellow colleagues,” the governor said in a statement.

Martinez also said Ward “approached improving public health in our state with great passion and a quiet confidence that helped bring her people together. She was kind and caring — always.” [Read More]

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