Logosm.gif (1927 bytes)
navlinks.gif (4688 bytes)
Hruler04.gif (5511 bytes)

Back to Mayor’s Office main pageBack to Department of Health main page

Mayor Appoints James Buford Acting Director at Department of Health
March 25, 2002




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


DCWatch Archives
Council Period 12
Council Period 13
Council Period 14

Election 1998
Election 2000
Election 2002

Election 2004
Election 2006

Government and People
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Boards and Com
Campaign Finance
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Management Officer
City Council
Control Board
Corporation Counsel
DC Agenda
Elections and Ethics
Fire Department
FOI Officers
Inspector General
Housing and Community Dev.
Human Services
Mayor's Office
Mental Health
Motor Vehicles
Neighborhood Action
National Capital Revitalization Corp.
Planning and Econ. Dev.
Planning, Office of
Police Department
Property Management
Public Advocate
Public Libraries
Public Schools
Public Service Commission
Public Works
Regional Mobility Panel
Sports and Entertainment Com.
Taxi Commission
Telephone Directory
University of DC
Water and Sewer Administration
Youth Rehabilitation Services
Zoning Commission

Issues in DC Politics

Budget issues
DC Flag
DC General, PBC
Gun issues
Health issues
Housing initiatives
Mayor’s mansion
Public Benefit Corporation
Regional Mobility
Reservation 13
Tax Rev Comm
Term limits repeal
Voting rights, statehood
Williams’s Fundraising Scandals


Appleseed Center
Cardozo Shaw Neigh.Assoc.
Committee of 100
Fed of Citizens Assocs
League of Women Voters
Parents United
Shaw Coalition



What Is DCWatch?

themail archives

See announcement of his appointment as Acting Director of Department of Health, June 19, 2002

Monday, March 25, 2002
CONTACT: Tony Bullock
(202) 727-6846

Mayor Appoints James Buford Acting Director at Department of Health

(Washington, DC) Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced today that he has appointed James Buford the acting director of the DC Department of Health (DOH). Since February 5, 2002, Buford has been serving as the chief operating officer for the DOH. On February 28, Dr. Ivan C.A. Walks, the current DOH director, announced that he was resigning, effective May 1.

Prior to his appointment as the chief operating officer, Buford served as the director for the Detroit Health Department in Detroit, Mich. In that position, Buford provided leadership that guided the department through the Michigan Department of Community Health's initial accreditation process. He also established the department's first Center of Excellence — Laboratory Services, which contains a specially equipped bioterrorism section and serves as the reference lab for southeastern Michigan.

"I am pleased that Jim Buford was available to step in to lead the Department of Health," said Mayor Williams. "He is a seasoned manager and a qualified public health professional who will guide the department as we begin the search for a replacement for Dr. Walks."

Buford is not a stranger to the District government. From April 1980 through May 1983, Buford served as the director of the DC Department of Human Services. During his tenure, a major departmental reorganization was accomplished to manage and deliver services more effectively and efficiently. Additionally, from June 1983 through January 1985, Buford was president of Buford and Associates, Inc., a Washington-based management consulting firm.

Mayor Williams expects to appoint a permanent director of the DOH in the near future.

Back to top of page



Address critical issues faced by organizations undergoing change with expertise acquired from 25 years of solid experience as a senior manager and chief executive officer of large complex organizations having financial and management problems that require effective solutions. 


Director, Detroit Health Department, Detroit, Michigan, June 1999–Present. Designed and implemented programs to promote health, prevent disease, and protect the public's health — including personal health, communicable disease, and environmental health programs. Implemented special initiatives that focused on health disparities and developed strategies that created greater access to public health and primary care for the uninsured. 

Management Consultant, University Research Corporation (URC), Bethesda, Maryland, June 1994–June 1999. URC collaborates with government and industry to provide communities, businesses, and individuals with training and technical assistance in the areas of public health, human services, human resource management, total quality management, and international development. 

Management Consultant, Human Resources Administration (HRA), New York City, New York, September 1992–March 1994. HRA is the largest municipal social welfare agency in the country providing a range of entitlement, child welfare, Medicaid, homeless, and adult and family services to residents of New York City. 

Executive Director, Division of Hospital Operations, April 1991–March 1992; Executive Director, Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn, New York, Mary 1988–April 1991; Assistant Vice President, Office of Strategic Planning, November 1986–April 1988, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). HHC is the largest municipal health care system in the country and consists of acute care hospitals, primary care centers, and long-term care facilities. 

Director, Department of Urban Community Services (DUCS), City of Kansas City, Missouri, February 1985–October 1986. DUCS provides a range of social and human services, youth employment programs, job training and employment, senior centers, and neighborhood improvement and development services to residents of Kansas City.

President, Buford and Associates, Inc., Washington, D.C., June 1983–January 1985. A Washington-based management consulting firm providing solutions to a wide range of public health, health care, human services, and general management problems for clients in the public and private sectors. 

Director, Department of Human Services (DHS), District of Columbia Government, Washington, D.C., April 1980–May 1983. DHS provides for the health and welfare of individuals through the delivery of public and mental health services, primary care, social services, and Medicaid — health care financing and substance abuse services. 

Regional Health Administrator, Department of Health and Human Services, Region VI, Dallas, Texas, September 1979–March 1980; and Administrator/Project Manager, Saint Elizabeths Hospital (SEH) Initiative, Washington, D.C., September 1977–August 1979. Responsible for policy implementation and for directing and coordinating Federal health programs in Region VI. Managing and facilitating the revitalization of SEH, regaining its accreditation and implementing court-ordered deinstitutionalization. 

Director, Department of Health and Welfare (DHW), City of Newark, Newark, New Jersey, September 1972–August 1977. Provided health and welfare services to eligible residents of the city; including public assistance, public health and primary care services, housing and code enforcement, and substance abuse prevention and treatment services. 


As Director of the Detroit Health Department (DHD), provided leadership that guided the department through the Michigan Department of Community Health's (MDCH) initial accreditation process. 

  • Designed and implemented a process that aligned department operations with standards established by the MDCH — resulting in a determination of accreditation with commendation.
  • Established the Department's first Center of Excellence — Laboratory Services. The Laboratory contains a specially equipped bioterrorism section and serves as the reference lab for southeastern Michigan.
  • Facilitated the installation of a ScriptPro Automatic Pharmacy Dispensing System to increase the efficiency of pharmacy operations.
  • Facilitated the design and establishment of a new “state-of-the-art” oral health clinic to provide greater access to dental services for the uninsured. 
  • Developed a plan that strategically supports community-based health care providers with laboratory and pharmacy services while integrating core public health services with primary care services.

As Director of Health and Welfare for the City of Newark, New Jersey, managed a primary health care network operating under a variety of auspices.

  • Privatized the management of a community health center as an extension of the outpatient department of a local hospital/medical center.
  • Purchased a small hospital and converted it to operate as a community health center in an underserved area of the city — with direct city management.
  • Constructed a new primary care center and privatized the medical service component through an arrangement with a Medical Group Practice.
  • Financially stabilized the operations of several non-profit community health centers with State Aid Funds to complete a network of centers necessary to make services available and accessible to the city's medically indigent residents. 
  • Health and social services were delivered during a period of fiscal austerity and consistent with a financial plan that controlled expenditures.

As Project Manager responsible for facilitating the revitalization of St. Elizabeths Hospital accomplishing the following goals:

  • A strategy to regain the hospital's accreditation was implemented in 1977 and successfully accomplished in 1979.
  • Initiated discussions that resulted in the transfer of the J.B. Johnson Nursing Home from DHUD to DHHS. The nursing home was transferred to the District Government to assist with the implementation of a court order to place SEH patients in community-based facilities. 
  • Privatized the medical/surgical component of SEH through an agreement with the Georgetown Medical Center.
  • Implemented an institution-wide patient assessment plan to determine the level of care required for all patients with a view toward placement in the most appropriate setting — community based or institution based. 
  • Reopened discussions with officials of the District Government to establish the parameters for the eventual transfer of SEH from the Federal Government to the District of Columbia Government. 

As Director of Human Services for the District of Columbia Government, a major departmental reorganization was accomplished to manage and deliver services more effectively and efficiently. 

  • Completed FY 1981 with an appropriated surplus of $500,000 by recovering $10 million in charges to the Federal Government, $15 million prior year overpayments for Medicaid services, and implemented management initiatives that saved $8 million — all to cover a prior year deficit of $33 million.
  • Commissioned a study that resulted in a “Maxicap Hospital Agreement” between DHS and D.C. hospital providers. The agreement focused on a strategy for containing the rate of growth in the Medicaid program.
  • Increased the management efficiency of essential administrative support functions located in several locations by collocating these services centrally to achieve greater control, accessibility, communication, performance, and productivity. 
  • Automated Vendor Payment System was instituted to pay vendors on a timely basis by computing and automatically paying average monthly payments based on prior billings and management instructions. 
  • Implemented a management system for court orders that ensured an orderly administration of judicial decrees and full compliance by DHS.

As Executive Director of Kings County Hospital Center, undertook major corrective action strategies while preparing for the construction of a billion dollar replacement hospital.

  • Implemented major improvements in the operation of the largest and busiest hospital emergency room in New York City.
  • Constructed an Urgent Care Center to reduce congestion in the emergency room by shifting those patients requiring treatment in a non-emergent setting.
  • Implemented a Quality Assurance Initiative targeted at developing a professional program of continuing quality and resource management. Focused this initiative, in part, on concurrent and retrospective monitoring and accountability for problem follow-up and resolution.
  • Implemented major management and service delivery enhancements designed to change the culture and structure of the organization — established clear patterns of accountability and strategies to enhance leadership and management effectiveness. 


Master of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1972.
Focus: Medical Care Organization and Administration

Master of Science, Central Missouri State University, 1965
Focus: Educational Administration

Bachelor of Science, Tennessee State University, 1957
Focus: Biology

Harvard University, Institute on Health Policy, Planning and Regulation, 1977

Kansas State University, Science Institute, National Science Foundation, 1960

William Jewell College, Science Institute, National Science Foundation, 1959


American Public Health Association
American Management Association
National Association of Health Service Executives
National Public Hospital Association


Publications and papers presented at such forums as: American Health Congress, American Public Health Association, Princeton University Minority Conference, American Orthopsychiatric Association Annual Meeting, New Jersey State Legislators


Federal Civil Service Rating: Executive Service Level IV (1978)
District of Columbia Civil Service Rating: DS-18 (1980)

James A. Buford
1800 Campau Farms Circle
Detroit, Michigan 48207
(313) 259-2191 (H)
(313) 876-4301 (O)

Back to top of page

Send mail with questions or comments to webmaster@dcwatch.com
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)