State Public Health Department director resigns

Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks

An Ottumwa doctor who has served as the stateâ??s top health official for nearly the last four years is stepping down.

Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks has been the director of the Iowa Department of Public Health since 2010.

In a statement released by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Thursday, Dr. Miller-Meeks says serving as the Director of Public Health has been an honor, but she is leaving the office to pursue opportunities outside of state government.

Miller-Meeks, an ophthalmologist and a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve first rose to prominence in 2008 when she ran against Congressman Dave Loebsack for his seat as Iowaâ??s Second District congressman. She was handily defeated by the congressman, but returned for a second run at the office in 2010. It was soon after losing that race that the newly elected Branstad tapped her for the top post at public health.

Deputy Director Gerd Clabaugh will serve as the interim head of the department starting on Jan. 17.