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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Dr. Robert Kruse, a director from the MercyOne system in Des Moines, is Iowa’s new state medical director, the state announced Monday.
The announcement came from the newly formed Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, which combines the previous state public health and human services departments into one agency.
Kruse replaces Dr. Caitlin Pedati, who was the previous state medical director and state epidemiologist. Pedati, who was one of the key figures in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, left her state position this past fall.
In December, she became public health director for the city of Virginia Beach, Va.
Kruse has been working as MercyOne’s medical director of occupational health, according to a news release from the state.
Kelly Garcia, who was director of the old Human Services Department and interim director of the old Department of Public Health, now serves as director of the newly combined Health and Human Services Department.
“Dr. Kruse’s background in biomedical engineering, public health, family medicine and occupational health give him a broad perspective to approach complex medical and public health problems,” Garcia said in a statement.
Before working at MercyOne, Kruse was an assistant professor in the Rutgers University medical school. He has a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Iowa and medical degrees from St. George’s University in the West Indies.
“I look forward to embracing this new role to collaborate with our partners and stakeholders to work together to promote and improve the health of all Iowans,” Kruse said in a statement.
Kruse will be paid $235,019 annually, a department spokeswoman said.
The new Health and Human Services department also announced that Sarah Reisetter will remain on staff and serve as deputy director and chief of the department’s newly created compliance division.
Reisetter previously served as deputy director of the former state Public Health Department, and also was a key figure in the early days of the state’s pandemic response. Reisetter, according to the news release, also led the realignment of the two former state agencies into one.
“(Reisetter) is a deeply committed public servant with unmatched leadership skills in performance management, quality improvement and public health modernization,” Garcia said. “As we build this new agency, these roles will be critical and I can’t imagine two more well-suited candidates.”
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