Dr. Joneigh Khaldun stepping down as chief medical executive for State of Michigan

Posted at 1:09 PM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 13:10:59-04

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is leaving her role for a job outside of state government, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Friday.

According to Whitmer, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian will serve as interim chief medical executive for the state starting on Oct. 1.

Khaldun was a prominent face, seen side-by-side with Whitmer, during updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thanks to Dr. J’s around-the-clock leadership, our state acted quickly with the best available data and science to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save countless lives during the pandemic,” Whitmer said in a release. “While we wish we could keep Dr. J at the helm, I wish her the best of luck as she moves on to a well-deserved opportunity. The state of Michigan and I are incredibly grateful for your service.”

Khaldun was previously the director and health officer for the Detroit Health Department.

“This work has been the honor of my life. I’ve been inspired by the entire MDHHS team and their expertise and dedication to serving the people of Michigan," Khadlun said in a release. "Dr Bagdasarian is an accomplished public health expert and epidemiologist and I am confident she will serve the state well in this new role. This is very bittersweet, but I am excited for this new and unique opportunity to continue doing my life’s work of advancing bold programs and policies that promote the health of all communities.”

According to the state, Bagdasarian has worked in Michigan and internationally for the last decade and has a background in internal medicine and infectious diseases. The state said she has provided technical guidance on outbreak preparedness since early 2020, and she has authored 40 publications on topics in infectious diseases and public health.

Bagdasarian got her medical degree from Wayne State and a master's in public health from the University of Michigan.

“These past months have been full of unprecedented challenges and change on the public health front, and there is much work to be done,” Bagdasarian said in a release “I am honored to be named the state’s chief medical executive. I know we have a committed, resolute, and untiring team that cares deeply about public health and moving past this current crisis. I look forward to collaborating with MDHHS and the Governor’s office and other state departments to address this challenge and any others that may present in the future.”

Khaldun's last day will be Sept. 30.