Heather Carter 

Executive Vice President, Greater Phoenix Leadership

“I hope that my work will inspire the next generation of women leaders to be courageous in bridging divides to address the most important issues we face today, for a brighter future.” 

Heather Carter, Ed.D., is executive vice president with Greater Phoenix Leadership, with a special focus on Arizona’s health and education sectors. Prior to this role, Dr. Carter served 10 years in the Arizona State Legislature, in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

Serving as House Health Committee Chairwoman, she worked relentlessly to make sure our Arizona healthcare system is innovative, efficient and effective. She championed Medicaid restoration and expansion in 2013 and restoration of Arizona’s KidsCare in 2016, providing healthcare to hundreds of thousands of people in Arizona. She spearheaded comprehensive public policy for both the electronic medical records system and telehealth legislation in Arizona, setting Arizona up as a national leader in using technology to deliver and improve care. As a champion for patients, she created and chaired the Senior Caucus and a Diabetes Caucus, to bring together elected officials, stakeholders and constituents to address the needs of individuals facing multiple health challenges. She also sponsored key legislation to address the Arizona opioid epidemic, ongoing substance abuse issues for adolescents and increasing access to behavioral health services.

Dr. Carter is a well-respected educational leader in her community, having served as vice-chair of the House Education Committee and worked as a clinical associate professor at ASU, preparing teachers and leaders for Arizona schools. Her passion for public education is rooted in her experience as a 7th-grade teacher in the Paradise Valley Unified School District. She was an important voice during the legislative session to increase teacher salaries in Arizona by 20% by 2020 and helped shepherd the referral that ultimately became Proposition 123, bringing millions of dollars to the state’s K-12 education system. She continues her work to advance an equitable funding system for public schools, recognizing the unique challenges faced in the state.

Prior to joining GPL, she was a full-time assistant professor of practice in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and associate director of the Center for Rural Health, at the University of Arizona, Phoenix Campus. She spent a considerable amount of her faculty and administrative time focused on healthcare workforce shortages, tobacco-cessation policy and telehealth.

Dr. Carter graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in communication, completed a master’s degree in educational technology at ASU, and earned a doctorate degree in education leadership from NAU. She is a Cahn Public Service Fellow, completing the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education, Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program, as well as an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow, member of the Public Leadership Class of 2013. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for several prominent organizations, including the American Heart Association National Advocacy Committee, Southwest Chapter of the American Cancer Society and the Institute for Mental Health Research; she is vice chair of the Flinn Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee and serves on the BIO5 Institute University of Arizona Business Advisory Group.

Dr. Carter; her husband of 27 years, Jay; and their daughter, Jacey, have lived in Phoenix for more than 30 years.

Organization Name: Greater Phoenix Leadership
Main Office Address: 400 E. Van Buren Street, Phoenix, Arizona
Phone: (602) 252-5667
Website: gplinc.org

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