New Cleveland Interim Health Commissioner Takes Over Amid Numerous Shakeups!

FEATURED PHOTO: CLEVELAND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH INTERIM COMMISSIONER FRANCES MILLS

THE SWEARING IN OF FORMER COMMISSIONER PERSIS SOSIAK ON DECEMBER 5TH 2016. PERSIS REPLACED FORMER COMMISSIONER MERLE R. GORDON WHO WAS SWORN IN JUNE OF 2016.

Ideastream.org, By Anna Huntsman, February 25th 2021

The city of Cleveland has a new interim health commissioner, two weeks after the former commissioner stepped down.

Mayor Frank Jackson swore in Frances Mills, who has worked in the city’s health department for six years, as interim commissioner Feb. 18.

Mills fills the position left empty by Persis Sosiak, who served as health commissioner for four years and resigned earlier this month. Sosiak’s last day was Feb. 5.

Mills previously served as the health department’s Director of Minority Health and Director of Community Health Initiatives. She does not hold a public health degree but has worked on initiatives such as maternal mortality, substance abuse, and mental health in her previous roles, according to a city press release.

The city’s health department has been undergoing numerous shakeups since an internal investigation last year revealed complaints of a toxic work environment and declining employee morale.

The department was restructured after the investigation to refocus on addressing racism as a public health crisis, Jackson said. Former director Merle Gordon was reassigned as part of the restructuring, and the department now falls under the city’s Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults, headed by Chief Tracy Martin-Thompson.

The city is looking to fill several jobs in the health department as it continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city has posted positions for chief epidemiologist and two epidemiologists.

In addition, the city is still looking for a director of the health department, as Brian Kimball is currently serving as interim director.

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