The head of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is stepping down today.
Friday, July 17 marks the final day for Dr. Nate Smith at the Department of Health. He will be leaving to become the deputy director for the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Service and Implementation Science division in Atlanta.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters that Friday’s press conference will be Smith’s last briefing.
“I just had a text from someone and asked me to issue an executive order countermanding his employment at the CDC and have him stay here. But I don’t think my executive authority goes that far. But Dr. Smith has a great partner for us, and we really wish him well as he goes on to the new venture in service to our country,” Hutchinson said.
The news of Smith’s departure was first announced on May 26. Smith said that he applied for the CDC role after Rear Admiral Stephen Redd retired from the position in February 2020. At the time, Smith said that his final day would be Aug. 28.
An ADH spokesperson has confirmed to Arkansas Money & Politics that he will be officially resigning in August but will be taking leave until that time.
Dr. Jose Romero will be taking over as the interim Secretary of Health in Smith’s stead.
READ MORE: Top State Health Official Leaving for CDC Post