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N.D. names fifth state health officer in a year

Dr. Nizar Wehbi
Dr. Nizar Wehbi(KFYR)
Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 11:06 AM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota has another new State Health Officer.

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., named Dr. Nizar Wehbi to the post and is expected to take responsibilities on May 1.

Wehbi will be the fifth person to hold the office in either a permanent or interim basis in the past year.

“Dr. Wehbi brings the right combination of experience in clinical medicine, policy development and health administration that we need to create the best public health system in the country right here in North Dakota. We look forward to him serving the citizens of our state and leading the outstanding team at the North Dakota Department of Health, who through their tireless efforts during COVID-19 have shown what it means to empower people, improve lives and inspire success,” Burgum said.

Wehbi now serves as the deputy director for the Center for Health Policy for the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“I am truly honored and humbled to join and lead the great team at the North Dakota Department of Health as they continue their critical work to improve access to and delivery of quality health care and wellness services, promote emergency readiness and response, and manage emerging public health challenges. They have been working hard to respond to the COVID pandemic, and there is still more work to be done as vaccine rollout continues,” Wehbi said.

He takes over a Health Department on the upswing with vaccine continuing it’s rollout and the state reaching an other new phase on the priority list last week.

However, he could oversee a major reformation of the DOH if a bill is enacted which would merge it with the Human Services Department.

He earned his medical degree in Lithuania and has master’s degrees in public health and business administration from the University of Nebraska.

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