Utah Department of Health names new state epidemiologist

Local News

Courtesy: Will Koeppen, Utah Department of Health

UTAH (ABC4) – The Utah Department of Health announced a new state epdiemiologist Thursday.

Dr. Leisha Nolen will step into the role previously held by Dr. Angela Dunn, who stepped down as state epidemiologist in May to serve as Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department.

According to a news release, Nolen currently works with the Centers for Disease Control in the agency’s Arctic Investigations Program in Anchorage, Alaska.

The program addresses infectious disease health disparities among the Alaska Native population.

Nolen was one of the first responders on the ground in Seattle, as she investigated a cluster of COVID-19 cases identified in a nursing home.

“The state epidemiologist is an important partner for local health departments in our
state,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, former state epidemiologist and executive director of the
Salt Lake County Health Department. “I think I speak for all local health officers in
welcoming Dr. Nolen to Utah and offering our support to help ensure her success.”

Nolen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her MD and PhD.

She went onto complete here pediatric residency at Boston Children’s Hospital.

According to a news release, she has been involved in multiple high-profile disesase investigations, including the CDC’s 2014 response to Ebola in West Africa.

“The Utah Department of Health has such an outstanding reputation among public health
professionals, and I am excited to get to work with this great group of individuals to help
improve the health of the residents of Utah,” said Dr. Nolen.

“As I get to know Utah and its different health challenges, I hope to find ways that my training and experience can contribute to the programs and teams already in place,” Dr. Nolen added.

Dr. Nolen will begin her duties as state epidemiologist on July 6.

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