Preventive health is crucial and cost-effective, according to Dr. Suzanne Dandoy, executive director of the Utah Department of Health.

That's the soapbox Dandoy will stand on during her two-year term as president of the American College of Preventive Medicine.Dandoy has started her term heading the medical society, which lists more than 2,000 doctors as members.

Dandoy said she will emphasize the need for increased federal funding for advanced training programs in preventive medicine. Another priority she identifies is reimbursement of clinical preventive health services by public and private health insurance companies.

"Unless insurers pay for the delivery of preventive services, physicians will not spend the time necessary to counsel patients on the use of seat belts, methods to stop smoking or the need for adult immunizations."

As president of the medical society, Dandoy also sits on the federal Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Council on Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Dandoy is the first state health officer to serve as president of the college, of which she has been a member for 20 years. She is certified as a specialist in general preventive medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. An adjunct professor at the University of Utah Medical School, she served as director of the preventive medicine resident training program there from 1988 to 1990.