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Physician appointed to lead Detroit health department

The Detroit News

A new executive director and health officer has been appointed to lead the Detroit Health Department, Mayor Mike Duggan’s office announced Friday.

Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, a board-certified emergency physician and public health leader who has been the department’s medical director since July 2016, has already started her new role, officials said in a statement.

She replaces Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the department’s health chief since 2015, who this month announced he would be resigning to run for Michigan governor.

Among her duties in the role that pays $200,000 annually, Khaldun is expected to lead the city’s efforts to decrease the infant mortality rate; improve maternal health outcomes; and focus on building collaborations with health systems, city officials said.

She previously ran Detroit’s Communicable Disease Program and directed clinical services, and led the city’s strategy to address teen pregnancy, according to the statement released Friday.

“Dr. Khaldun is an extraordinarily experienced medical professional and a talented administrator,” Duggan said. “Her passion for public health makes her the right person for this job. I’m confident that under her leadership we will take on some of Detroit’s most pressing health challenges and improve public health outcomes across our city.”

Before returning to Detroit, Khaldun was the chief medical officer and assistant commissioner for clinical services at the Baltimore City Health Department, overseeing seven health department clinics, a laboratory and the Office of Epidemiology. She also helped implement strategies to address opioid overdose, violence prevention and youth wellness.

Khaldun has degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University, where she directed the Center for Injury Prevention and Control, representatives said. She has worked in Brooklyn, New York and practices part-time at the Henry Ford Hospital emergency department.

The physician also has been a Fellow in the Office of Health Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; directed the Fellowship in Health Policy and Leadership in the University of Maryland’s Department of Emergency Medicine; lectured on health reform; and was appointed to the Commission on Health in Montgomery County, Maryland.

“It is such an honor to have been chosen by Mayor Duggan to lead this Department and serve a City that I credit for shaping who I am today,” Khaldun said in a statement. “I look forward to changing the way health systems and public health work together, and listening to the community’s needs. I also would like to thank Dr. Abdul El-Sayed for building a strong foundation that will help this department grow for years to come.”