Kirk Cole, associate commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, will serve as interim commissioner of the agency starting Feb. 1 as the state searches for a successor to Dr. David Lakey, who announced his resignation in early January.
“Kirk knows the agency and can make sure things run smoothly while we conduct a national search for a new commissioner,” said Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek, M.D. “Dr. Lakey helped make the agency a national model, and we want to build on that vision and excellence.”
As associate commissioner, Cole was second in command and played a key role in advising the commissioner and state leadership on public health and agency management issues.
A chief medical executive licensed to practice medicine also will be named to advise the interim commissioner on health issues and medical aspects of the agency’s programs and services.
The Department of Health Services has 12,000 employees and an annual budget of $3.2 billion. The agency oversees disease prevention and bioterrorism preparedness, family and community health services, environmental and consumer safety, regulatory programs and mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.