CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A permanent State Health Officer and Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’s Bureau for Public Health has been selected.

Bill J. Crouch, the DHHR Cabinet Secretary announced on Friday that Catherine C. Slemp, MD, MPH, will be in that position effective immediately. She previously served as the interim leader following the resignation of Dr. Rahul Gupta in November 2018, according to the DHHR.

According to the release by the DHHR, Slemp first worked with them in 1994 as she was the founding director of what is now the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and subsequently directed the state’s emergency preparedness efforts.

Slemp was the Acting State Health Officer for DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health from 2002 to 2011.

Before returning to DHHR in 2018, Dr. Slemp served as a public health consultant for governmental, academic, professional and community organizations and as a relief and development coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, according to the release.

Crouch released a statement on Friday stating, “Dr. Slemp has done tremendous work on behalf of DHHR not only since she returned in 2018, but throughout her career. She has demonstrated a commitment to creating a healthier state and is highly respected by public health officials in West Virginia and nationally. I cannot be more pleased that Dr. Slemp has agreed to continue in this role.”

Slemp holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Princeton University, a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and an M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to work with dedicated, creative, and mission-focused colleagues at DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health,” she said in a released statement. “These individuals, together with many phenomenal partners, work endlessly to build healthier futures for West Virginians, and I am privileged to continue assisting in this mission in a permanent capacity.”

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