Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has named Natasha Bagdasarian, M.D., M.P.H., a 2005 graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, the state’s new chief medical executive.
Dr. Bagdasarian’s appointment is effective Oct. 1. She will serve in the position while the state conducts a nationwide search for a permanent chief medical executive.
She replaces Joneigh Khaldun, M.D., who served in the role since 2019 and who recently announced she was leaving the role to accept a new position outside of government.
“I am proud to appoint Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian as chief medical executive. Michiganders across the state have benefited from Dr. Bagdasarian’s expertise through her work leading the state’s COVID-19 testing strategy to keep everyone safe,” Whitmer said. “Dr. Bagdasarian is a world-renowned medical expert with a wealth of experience. She is a proven leader who will continue to guide us through the pandemic. I look forward to collaborating with her as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and keep Michigan healthy.”
Elizabeth Hertel, director of the state health department, noted that Dr. Bagdasarian has been serving as a senior public health physician for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services during the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing testing strategies and bringing rapid testing to vulnerable populations. She also has worked with the World Health Organization, providing technical guidance on outbreak preparedness.
“We are thrilled that an infectious diseases expert with her global experience will be able to step into the chief medical executive role quickly and seamlessly, especially during a time when we need to maintain our momentum and focus on reducing COVID cases and hospitalizations, and increasing vaccinations,” Hertel said.
After graduating from the WSU School of Medicine, Dr. Bagdasarian completed an Internal Medicine residency and infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Michigan, where she received a master’s of public health degree in hospital and molecular epidemiology. She is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases.
“These past months have been full of unprecedented challenges and change on the public health front, and there is much work to be done,” Dr. Bagdasarian said in a news release. “I am honored to be named the state’s chief medical executive. I know we have a committed, resolute and untiring team that cares deeply about public health and moving past this current crisis. I look forward to collaborating with MDHHS and the governor’s office and other state departments to address this challenge and any others that may present in the future.”
From 2015 to 2020, she led the hospital epidemiology and antimicrobial stewardship teams at two hospitals in Singapore, and was on several national committees and guideline development groups in Singapore, as well as the COVID-19 leadership response group for the National University Health System.