SALT LAKE CITY — Utah state epidemiologist Angela Dunn, one of the state's most prominent leaders during the pandemic, is stepping down from the position to become the executive health director of the Salt Lake County Health Department.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson made the announcement Tuesday, hours after Dunn informed colleagues via email that she will replace Gary Edwards at the department he has led since 2005.
“So I wanted you to find out from me, not the rumor mill. I am replacing Gary Edwards as he blissfully rides off into the retirement sunset," said Dunn in the email obtained by FOX 13.
"I am honestly so lucky to have landed at UDOH. You accepted me with open arms as an EIS officer and have taught me so much. Your dedication to ensuring the health of Utahns is inspiring. I am forever grateful for your compassion, friendship and resilience.”
Dunn will start her new position on June 1.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Dunn to Salt Lake County in this critical role at this historic time,” Mayor Wilson said in a statement. “Dr. Dunn is a household name due to her strength and expertise demonstrated at the state during COVID, but she is equally knowledgeable and committed to all aspects of public health. Dr. Dunn has a broad range of clinical, public health and epidemiologic experience that will ensure the department continues to be a leader among local health departments nationwide. She will be an amazing addition to our county team.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dunn was a strong advocate for Utah residents to wear masks and limit social gatherings.
In a statement released after the announcement, Gov. Spencer Cox thanked Dunn for her service to the his office and residents across the state.
"Throughout this pandemic, Dr. Dunn has been a dedicated public servant, a staunch advocate for following the science and one of my most trusted advisors. Her expertise and facility in translating complex scientific research into plain language has been invaluable during the COVID-19 crisis," said Cox. "I will miss having her on the state’s team, but I’m glad she will continue to serve Utahns living in Salt Lake County."
Dunn joined the Utah Department of Health in 2014 as an epidemic intelligence service officer before becoming state epidemiologist in 2018.
“I’m excited to join one of the nation’s most respected local health departments,” Dunn said. “I’m honored to serve the people who live and work in Salt Lake County, which is also my home, and I’m looking forward to working alongside the amazing public health professionals in Salt Lake County.”