COVID-19

State’s top doc worries about threats of violence

The state's interim chief medical executive says she worried about safety before taking the job.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian had to think long and hard about her family’s safety before deciding to take the job as the interim chief medical executive for the state of Michigan.

“I had to sit down and speak with my family to see if they felt safe with me taking this role,” she told Michigan Advance earlier this week. “This isn’t the way it should be.”

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Bagdasarian took over the role Oct. 1 from Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who left to join the private sector. Khaldun is now the chief health equity officer for pharmacy chain CVS.

The problem comes from Michigan residents – and even some politicians – who have taken to harassing and threatening public health officials whose policies they disagree with. It’s gotten so bad that some public health officials have chosen to resign rather than deal with ongoing intimidation.

Bagdasarian said she has regular meetings with local public health officials to try to mitigate their stresses.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” she said. “The people coming forward and telling these horrific stories are our colleagues and partners. In many cases they’re our friends. We’re doing everything we can to support them.”

[Michigan Advance]

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