MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann announces retirement

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann has announced her plans to retire Feb. 2, concluding more than 30 years of service in various public health roles.

According to the announcement, Ehresmann has become a respected leader for her COVID-19 response work, as well as, more than three decades of service in Minnesota.

"Kris Ehresmann is a true leader, and her experience and skill as a top public health advisor has been instrumental in leading Minnesota through the COVID-19 pandemic," said Governor Tim Walz in the announcement. "It has been an honor to work alongside Kris. Her efforts to keep Minnesotans safe and healthy have left a legacy that will impact our state for years to come."

In addition to being a key leader of Minnesota’s COVID-19 pandemic response, Ehresmann played leading roles in many public health issues in recent decades, including Minnesota's measles outbreak in 2017 – the largest measles outbreak in the United States that year – Ebola preparedness in 2014, the fungal meningitis investigation and response of 2012, H1N1 pandemic response in 2009, post-9/11 readiness work in the early 2000s, and dozens of other high-profile public health issues.

Ehresmann has added a Minnesota perspective to many national partnerships, including the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the Association of State and Territorial Health Offices Infectious Disease Policy Committee, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). At the time of her ACIP appointment, she was only the second nurse ever named to that advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"Serving as the director of the infectious disease division has been one of the great honors of my life," Ehresmann said in the announcement. "Like so many people who have worked in a job they love, I have mixed feelings about saying goodbye. That said, it has been my privilege to work with an amazing team and I have every confidence I am handing the baton to the best in the business." 

Emily Emerson, the current assistant director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division, will assume the role of interim director. 

MDH will launch a national search for a new director.