DHEC names Dr. Brannon Traxler interim director of Public Health with Dr. Duwve’s exit from the agency

South Carolina News

Dr. Brannon Traxler (Photo DHEC)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation announced a change in leadership on Friday.

It comes after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced DHEC’s Director of Public Health, Dr. Joan Duwve, had accepted a position with Ohio’s health agency.

However, less than eight hours after that announcement, Gov. DeWine said Dr. Duwve withdrew her name from consideration.

Officials with DHEC said Dr. Joan Duwve has made the decision to move on from her role as the agency’s Public Health Director in their statement Friday.

“Understandably, Joan has made a career decision that she feels is in the best interest of her family and we respect this decision,” said acting DHEC Director Marshall Taylor. “Joan is a brilliant physician who is passionate about public health and we greatly appreciate the time she spent with DHEC as our director of Public Health. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.” 

With her exit, DHEC said Dr. Brannon Traxler, who has been serving as the Chief Medical Officer for the state’s COVID-19 response, will assume the role of interim director of Public Health immediately.

Officials say Dr. Duwve will stay on with the agency in an advisory role until Oct. 1, 2020, to support a smooth transition.

“I have the utmost confidence in Brannon’s ability to lead the state’s public health efforts during these challenging times,” said Taylor. “Brannon’s breadth of experience and knowledge in medical practice as a surgeon as well as the Chief Medical Officer for the state’s COVID-19 response, uniquely positions her for this critical role and I look forward to our continued work together.”

Dr. Traxler is a Greenville, SC native and previously practiced as a surgeon in South Carolina before changing her specialty focus to public health, serving as physician for DHEC in the areas of infectious disease surveillance and control and emergency preparedness and response.

Dr. Traxler earned her medical degree from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and her Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University. She received her undergraduate degree in microbiology at the Clemson University Honors College.

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