"This isn’t the way it should be," Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian of Ann Arbor says of personal safety concerns about accepting an interim appointment as Michigan’s chief medical executive.
"I had to sit down and speak with my family to see if they felt safe with me taking this role," she tells Michigan Advance. The issue arises because vicious criticism and threats are aimed at public health officials over Covid orders.
Bagdasarian, 44, replaced Dr. Joneigh Khaldun as the state’s top doctor Oct. 1. Khaldun announced Monday that she's now a CVS drugstore chain vice president and chief health equity officer.
Michigan Advance notes that Khaldun "reportedly faced bullying and threats during the pandemic."
A specialist in internal medicine and infectious disease, [Bagdasarian] has overseen Michigan’s Covid testing strategy as the senior public health physician at the state Department of Health and Human Services. Most recently, she was taking a sabbatical from that position to work on Covid-19 planning at the World Health Organization.
This, however, is the first time that Bagdasarian — who will serve as the interim chief medical executive while the state conducts a national search for Khaldun's replacement — is taking on an intensely public role during Covid. ... [She] occupies a place that has become deeply troubling and downright dangerous for public health officials — the space where health policy, communication about Covid and the public collides.
The temporary appointee is a 2005 graduate of Wayne State University medical school and did her internship at the University of Michigan Hospital.