Damōn Chaplin confirmed as Minneapolis’ new Health Commissioner

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MINNEAPOLIS — Today, the City Council confirmed Mayor Jacob Frey’s nominee, Damōn Chaplin, as the City’s new Health Commissioner.

Chaplin currently leads the New Bedford, Massachusetts, Health Department where he led the community through the COVID-19 pandemic. He has more than 20 years of public health experience and serves on the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Board of Directors, representing health departments in six states.

Chaplin’s accomplishments include serving as co-chair for the Greater New Bedford Opioid Task Force, which acquired $4.5 million in federal funding to help reduce opioid use in marginalized communities.

“I’m humbled and thankful for the City Council’s confirmation,” said Chaplin. “I’m looking forward to working with the mayor, his cabinet, City Council members, department heads, members of the Health Department and members of the community at large. This is a life-long dream come true to serve in a community like Minneapolis with such a diverse population. I look forward to sharing my lived experience and expertise to make Minneapolis the healthiest city in the country.”

Interim Health Commissioner Heidi Ritchie, who led the department over the past year, will serve as the new Deputy Health Commissioner.

“It’s been an honor to serve as the Health Department’s Interim Commissioner over the past year,” said Ritchie. “I’m proud of our staff’s resilience as they thrived through the face of adversity to accomplish so much. The amazing people who work in the Health Department have done this through pure dedication and an unrivaled commitment to public health, community well-being, social justice, and equity – and these are values I know Mr. Chaplin shares. I am looking forward to working alongside Commissioner Chaplin as Deputy Commissioner, and I’m grateful to add a new chapter in over 17 years of service to the people of Minneapolis.”

Chaplin is expected to begin his role as Health Commissioner on March 20.

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