Healthy Communities

Office of the Chief Science Officer

The mission of the Office of the Chief Science Officer (CSO) is to promote scientific excellence in all programmatic, educational, and public health research activities of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). The office of the CSO works with the Department’s scientists, epidemiologists, and external researchers to promote professional development and to further scientific analyses and investigations of various sources of data.

The office of the CSO is comprised of:

Namvar Zohoori, MD, PhD
Chief Science Officer

Austin Porter, DrPH, MPH
Deputy Chief Science Officer

Additionally, the office is responsible for overseeing the units of Performance Management, Quality Improvement, and Evaluation. The Performance Management unit assists with the agency’s strategic plan management, maintenance of the performance dashboard, and maintains the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) compliance and documentation. The Quality Improvement unit works to develop a culture of continuous quality improvement (QI) within the agency by conducting QI training and overseeing QI projects. The Evaluation Support unit (under development) provides support and consultation for program evaluation and works to incorporate evaluation into funding proposals.

Objectives of the Office of the Chief Science Officer include:

  1. Ensuring long-term scientific investments at ADH;
  2. Upholding scientific ideals, and creating an environment of scientific excellence and innovation;
  3. Providing coordination for ADH public health research activities;
  4. Encouraging and promoting collaborative scientific and educational activities with institutions of higher learning;
  5. Maintaining the integrity of the agency’s scientists by supporting training and information exchange, and providing direction on matters of scientific integrity;
  6. Assuring the protection of human subjects in public health research activities that use ADH databases and information;
  7. Managing the confidentiality functions of ADH for sensitive research data;
  8. Promoting institutional performance through a goal-oriented and data-driven management system;
  9. Maintaining an atmosphere of continuous quality improvement;
  10. Supporting program evaluation activities to optimize program delivery;
  11. Facilitating and maintaining compliance with, and adherence to, the ADH Misconduct Policy, with HIPAA requirements, and with the terms of the Federal Wide Assurance for the Protection of Human Subjects.

Below are materials that contain information about the purpose and objectives of the Office of the Chief Science Officer. Additionally, information about accessing data for research and public use purposes is provided. Agency-specific interactive reports on quality and performance improvement metrics are tracked using our dashboard tool. 


Arkansas Department of Health Data Request Process
1. Prepare study protocol Requestors should work with program staff to confirm availability and reliability of variables needed for the project
2. Obtain IRB approval Institutional IRB approval or waiver must be obtained prior to completing the data request form
3. Complete data request form The online data request form provides the agency with background, purpose, variables requested, and other information for consideration
4. Science Advisory Committee (SAC) Review The SAC meets every 2nd and 4th Friday at 2pm to review data requests. The SAC may approve, ask for modifications, or deny data requests
5. Data Use Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding Fulfillment of data requests are initiated after the Data Use Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding are signed by agency staff and requestors

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867