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OAKLAND — Alameda County Public Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan will become California’s state epidemiologist, the Alameda County Public Health Department said Monday.

The department said Dr. Nicholas Moss will begin serving as the department’s interim director Tuesday after California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Pan, as well as naming her deputy director at the state health department’s center for infectious diseases.

“I’m deeply appreciative of Dr. Pan’s leadership over the years and especially grateful for the courage and resolve she’s shown during this pandemic. Her exceptional knowledge, skills, and experience in public health leadership have clearly been recognized by our State colleagues, and I’m confident she will continue to advance California’s pandemic response,” Alameda County Health Care Services agency director Colleen Chawla said in a statement.

Pan joined Alameda County’s health department in 2011, directing its division of communicable disease control and prevention, after several years at San Francisco’s public health department as director of bioterrorism and infectious disease emergencies, as well as creating and leading the department’s emergency preparedness and response section.

After becoming Alameda County’s interim health officer in July 2018, she helped shape department responses to multiple public-health crises, including regional wildfires in November 2018, a March 2019 measles outbreak, the Pacific Gas & Electric public-safety power shutdowns and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pan struck an optimistic tone Monday, noting the department was in good hands with her successor.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to have served Alameda County for the past nine years, and grateful for the community’s support of the dramatic measures we had to take to slow the spread of COVID19 during these unprecedented times,” Pan said in part.

“There has never been a more challenging time to be a public health officer, yet I look forward to the honor of serving to help lead this work more broadly statewide. I leave here proud of the work our Public Health Department does every day to keep our communities healthy and safe, and confident in Dr. Moss’ ability to continue our plan to address the complex issues of this pandemic.”

Moss praised Pan’s leadership as well: “Dr. Pan is a dedicated public servant whose tireless efforts paved the way for Alameda County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic among many of her achievements. I am fortunate to follow in her footsteps and have greatly appreciated her guidance as a colleague and a friend.”

Moss joined Alameda County’s health department in 2013 and led its HIV/STD section. Earlier this year, he began work as a deputy health officer and acting director of its division of communicable disease control and prevention.

Kimi Watkins, the county health care service agency’s public health director, said Moss was “well known within our HIV/AIDS and STD provider community for his clinical expertise and leadership.”

“He has more recently become known as one of the familiar leadership and policy voices during our County’s response to COVID-19, leading day-to-day emergency operations and disease control strategy, and filling in for Dr. Pan as needed,” Watkins added.

Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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Author: George Kelly

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