Kris Ehresmann, MDH Infectious Disease Director to retire

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Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann announced Thursday that she will be retiring Feb. 2. She will retire after more than 30 years of service to Minnesotans in various roles in public health.

Many Minnesotans became familiar with Ehresmann within the last two years, as she and MDH Commissioner Jan Malcom have been two key state public health leaders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but her work and impact go back many years.

According to a press release, Ehresmann played leading roles in many public health issues in recent decades, including Minnesota’s measles outbreak in 2017 – the largest measles outbreak in the United States that year – Ebola preparedness in 2014, the fungal meningitis investigation and response of 2012, H1N1 pandemic response in 2009, post-9/11 readiness work in the early 2000s, and dozens of other high-profile public health issues.

"Serving as the director of the infectious disease division has been one of the great honors of my life," Ehresmann said in a statement. "Like so many people who have worked in a job they love, I have mixed feelings about saying goodbye."

Ehresmann also served on a few national committees and panels including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, becoming the second nurse to ever serve on that panel at the time of her appointment.

"Kris Ehresmann is a true leader, and her experience and skill as a top public health advisor has been instrumental in leading Minnesota through the COVID-19 pandemic," Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement.

While MDH conducts a national search for a new infectious disease director, Emily Emerson, current assistant director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division will step into the role of director in the interim.