Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian will serve as chief medical executive for the state of Michigan beginning on Friday, October 1. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who currently serves as chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, has accepted a new position to pursue an opportunity outside of state government, which will be announced in the coming weeks. The State of Michigan will conduct a nationwide search to select a permanent chief medical executive.
“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,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“I am so grateful to Governor Whitmer, Director Hertel, and all of the state departments, local health departments, health systems, physicians and community organizations across Michigan that I have had the privilege to work with over the last five years in my roles at the Detroit Health Department and the State of Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy of health, MDHHS.
With a background in internal medicine and infectious diseases, Dr. Bagdasarian has worked in Michigan and internationally for the last decade, authoring 40 publications on topics in infectious diseases and public health. Since early 2020, she has provided technical guidance on outbreak preparedness and COVID-19to the international community. For the last year she has served the State of Michigan in the role of Senior Public Health Physician with the Department of Health and Human Services, where she oversaw the SARS-CoV-2 testing strategy for the state.
Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian received her medical degree from Wayne State University and her master of public health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She completed training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at Michigan Medicine.
“These past months have been full of unprecedented challenges and change on the public health front, and there is much work to be done,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the current chief medical executive, will transition out of her role, with her last day of service to state government on Thursday, September 30.
Before serving as chief medical executive, Dr. Khaldun was the Director and Health Officer for the Detroit Health Department, where she oversaw a robust community health assessment, spear-headed new human service and maternal and infant health efforts and led Detroit’s response to the largest Hepatitis A outbreak in modern U.S. history. Under Dr. Khaldun’s guidance, the state enacted multiple public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives during the pandemic. She also quickly recognized the disparate impact COVID-19 had on communities of color, and the state was one of the first states in the nation to form a task force to reduce these disparities and bring down the mortality rate. Due to her leadership, President Biden selected Dr. Joneigh Khaldun to be a member of the national COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. The State of Michigan has begun a search to select a chief medical executive. An announcement will be made when the position is filled.