Government

Kelly Garcia appointed interim director of state public health department

Gerd Clabaugh, current director, will retire July 31

Kelly Garcia became the Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services on Nov. 1, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Kelly Garcia became the Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services on Nov. 1, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

The director of the Department of Human Services was named by the governor as interim head of the state’s public health department on Tuesday.

Kelly Garcia will serve as interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health starting July 31, when the current director, Gerd Clabaugh, is set to retire, the Governor’s Office announced.

Garcia was appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds to oversee DHS in November 2019 after serving in a variety of roles with the Health and Human Services Commission in Texas. She was confirmed by the Iowa Senate this past February.

Garcia holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in public service and administration from Texas A&M University.

Clabaugh, 58, announced his departure earlier this month, which was driven by his goal “to spend more time with family and seek new opportunities.”

Former Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Clabaugh in 2014 to run the state’s health department, and he remained in that position under Reynolds.

In June 2019, Clabaugh briefly served as interim director of the Iowa Department of Human Services after Reynolds fired former DHS director Jerry Foxhoven.

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In response to reporter questions, the governor’s spokesman said Clabaugh was not asked to retire.

Comments: (319) 398-8469; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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