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Former Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun accepts position with CVS Health

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun at a podium
State of Michigan
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun at a press conference, Tuesday, July 28, 2020.

Updated: 10/18/2021 at 5:21 p.m.:

Michigan’s former chief medical executive has a new job. Doctor Joneigh Khaldun is joining CVS Health, the parent company of the CVS drug store chain.

She’ll be the company’s Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer. Khaldun stepped down last month from her office in the state health department she’d held since 2019.

Original post: 09/24/2021:

The doctor who led Michigan’s COVID-19 pandemic response is leaving state government.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that Dr. Joneigh Khaldun has accepted a new position and will be replaced by a high-ranking physician within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“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 statement released by her office.

Dr. Khaldun was a frequent presence alongside Governor Gretchen Whitmer, often taking questions and giving detailed answers on the state’s pandemic response. She said recently that she would recommend issuing new pandemic orders if it was possible to ensure they would be followed.

Her interim replacement will be Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, a senior public health physician with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“Dr. Bagdasarian has been a critical member of our public health team throughout the pandemic. She’s worked closely with Doctor J and Governor Whitmer to make the tough decisions that have saved thousands of lives,” said Whitmer Press Secretary Bobby Leddy. “She led our state’s testing strategy and with her wealth of knowledge, she is the best fit to continue to lead during this pandemic.”

Dr. Bagdasarian will serve as interim chief medical executive starting October 1 while a search begins for a permanent replacement.

“We hope that Dr. Bagdasarian will consider putting her hat in the ring,” said Leddy.

The chief medical executive is a cabinet-level position, but it does not require confirmation by the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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