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Health & Science

Cleveland Health Commissioner Resigns Leaving Another Key Position Vacant

a photo of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson swearing in Persis Sosiak as health commissioner
City of Cleveland
Persis Sosiak was sworn in as health commissioner in 2016.

Cleveland's health commissioner Persis Sosiak is stepping down, and her last day will be Friday.

She was the commissioner of the division of health for four years, which included work on the city’s COVID-19 response.

No reason was given for her resignation and requests for information have not yet been returned.

Last year, the city’s health department was restructured after an internal investigation found supervisors made “detrimental mistakes” and treated staff unfairly.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced the health department restructuring in September of 2020 after the department was investigated for complaints of racial discrimination. 

The department has been reorganized to better focus on addressing issues such as racism, crime, and violence as public health crises, Mayor Frank Jackson said at the time.

As part of the restructuring, then-Health Director Merle Gordon was reassigned, and Brian Kimball took over the daily operations of the department.

Cleveland will post the vacant health commissioner job after Sosiak’s last day.  

The city also posted positions for chief epidemiologist and two epidemiologists and announced a partnership with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)  to staff the Epidemiology Unit.

“This partnership will provide CDPH (the Cleveland Department of Public Health) with critical support elements that are needed to strengthen this unit, now and beyond our work relative to COVID-19,” city officials said in a press release on Monday. “The CWRU team has a long history of collaboration with CDPH.”

Epidemiologists help analyze data to determine how to control or stop viral spread, like COVID-19.


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