‘The honor of my life’: Dr. Khaldun speaks out after stepping down as Michigan’s chief medical executive

State’s top doctor opens up about enduring security threats over tenure

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun has become known to millions of Michiganders as Dr. J. Khaldun recently stepped down as the state's chief medical executive, a job she calls the honor of her life.

DETROIT – Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the former chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, has been named the vice president and chief health equity officer of CVS Health.

Local 4 News conducted the first interview with Khaldun on her new role.

Dr. Khaldun has been a constant presence at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s side during the pandemic.

She and her team at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services were among the first in the country to identify the disparities in healthcare brought out by COVID-19, something she hopes to continue in her new job.

“I’m so thrilled to announce that I am now the vice president and chief health equity officer of CVS Health,” said Khaldun.

READ: Former Michigan chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun named new VP of CVS Health

“Equity is not a program it’s absolutely a way of life. It’s everything that you do, how you’re making sure all the people that you are serving have the optimal ability to be healthy and so that means in policies are we tracking disparities, are we measuring disparities and if we’re measuring them what are we doing to address them?” asked Khaldun.

For me it’s really about a continuation of the work that I’ve always done which is working with partners to improve communities

Dr. Khaldun has served during one of the most difficult public health crises in history.

“Think the most memorable moment was when I was briefing the governor and the governors leadership team on COVID-19 and what it was, what it could potentially become and I started initially talking about needing to potentially close businesses temporarily,” said Khaldun.

“What has surprised me the most not just about the COVID-19 response in Michigan but across the entire country is just how much somewhat simple public health measures that would keep people healthy and quite frankly alive have become so political and caused so many people to be upset.”

Local 4 News asked Khaldun whether she has ever had a security concern either directly or implied.

“Yes, I have been the subject of security threats in my role, but you know that certainly is not the reason why I chose to take this new position with CVS Health.

Regards to her time as Michigan’s top doctor she said, “Been the honor of my life to be in my home state doing this work.”

State officials announced Sept. 24 that Khaldun was accepting a new position outside of state government.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.