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Texas health department names interim commissioner

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Board of Health and Human Services on Thursday named a new acting commissioner after Dr. John Hellestedt announced he would retire Sept. 30 after nearly 14 years of service.

Dr. Jennifer Shuford will take over from Hellerstedt on October 1. She graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and later earned a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She later earned her MD from Southwestern Medical School at the University of Texas.

Shuford is currently the chief epidemiologist for the Texas Department of Health Services, according to THHSC. Prior to joining DSHS in 2017, Shuford practiced medicine as an infectious disease physician in Austin.

“Dr. Shuford’s passion for service, extensive experience and knowledge of public health will serve us well as she takes on this role,” THHSC Executive Commissioner Cecil Owen Young said in a statement. am confident that she will successfully lead DSHS through this transition period.”

According to the committee, Hellerstedt is seen as spearheading the state’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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