Health commissioner resigns for personal reasons

Health commissioner resigns for personal reasons
Dr. William VanNess
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The Indiana health commissioner has submitted his resignation to Gov. Mike Pence, citing personal reasons.

Dr. William VanNess said Friday he plans to stay on the job until Pence finds a replacement, saying he likely will stay on until early October. VanNess was appointed to the post in January 2013. He had retired at the end of 2012 as president and CEO of Community Hospital of Anderson after 15 years there.

VanNess has sought to emphasize reducing obesity, cutting smoking rates and improving the infant mortality rate during his tenure.

Dr. VanNess released this statement:

"It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the great citizens of Indiana in my role as State Health Commissioner over the past year and a half. It is with regret and strictly for personal reasons that I have submitted my resignation. I anticipate my last day to be in early October, but plan to assist Governor Pence until he finds a suitable replacement. The dedicated employees at the Indiana State Department of Health have done a tremendous job of promoting and providing essential public health services for Hoosiers and I have every confidence they will continue to serve the state to the best of their abilities during this transition and after."

Statement from Gov. Pence:

"Dr. VanNess has served Hoosiers passionately and with great dedication as State Health Commissioner and we will miss his leadership. During his tenure, the State Department of Health has identified critical health priorities and developed new strategies to improve the health of Hoosiers, including reducing smoking, obesity and infant deaths. The State of Indiana will continue to tackle these challenges head on, and I wish Dr. VanNess the best in his future endeavors."

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