OTTUMWA — Four months after the departure of an Ottumwa resident, Gov. Terry Branstad has appointed a new Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) director.
Gerd Clabaugh, a resident of Johnston, Iowa, previously served as deputy director of IDPH and will take the reins subject to Senate approval, a press release from the governor's office said Monday.
Clabaugh had become interim director of the department after Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa stepped down in January.
Initially, no reason was given by the State as to why the doctor was leaving. Later that first night, Miller-Meeks told Courier readers she'd made a decision: She was going to devote her time to a run for the U.S. House of Representatives.
She's now battling Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack, the incumbent.
Miller-Meeks had maintained her Ottumwa residence as she commuted to the state capital. A retired U.S. Army officer, she served as a nurse, later earning her medical degree. She also served as the president of the Iowa Medical Society. She had accepted the appointment to become director of the IDPH when Branstad took office.
According to the recent press release, "IDPH partners with local public health, policymakers, health care providers, business and many others to fulfill its mission of promoting and protecting the health of Iowans."