By: - March 23, 2019 7:59 am

Gretchen Whitmer (left) and Joneigh Khaldun (right)

Detroit’s health department director will be Michigan’s new chief medical executive.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Dr. Joneigh Khaldun as the state’s leading medical authority on Thursday, the Associated Press and other outlets reported. Khaldun will also be chief deputy director for health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Eden Wells

Khaldun was an emergency physician at Henry Ford Hospital. She starts her new position on April 15 and “will bring strong expertise, diverse experience and deep passion to state government,” Whitmer told the AP.

She previously replaced former Detroit Health Department Director Abdul El-Sayed, who resigned after announcing his 2018 candidacy for governor. Whitmer defeated El-Sayed in the August Democratic primary.

The appointment comes after former chief medical officer Dr. Eden Wells, who was appointed by ex-Gov. Rick Snyder, was moved to a newly created state position that pays $180,000 a year.

Wells was named Michigan’s population health physician after she was charged by former Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office with involuntary manslaughter, as well as other charges connected to the Flint water crisis.

A judge ruled in December the case will head to trial.

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Michael Gerstein
Michael Gerstein

Michael Gerstein is a former Advance reporter covering the Governor's office, criminal justice and the environment.