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Governor McKee Statement on Interim Director of Health

Governor Dan McKee today announced the appointment of Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH as Interim Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH).

"Dr. Bandy has vast experience as a public health leader and infectious disease epidemiologist in Rhode Island. She has been at the center of our state's COVID-19 response and dozens of other major public health initiatives over the last three decades," said Governor McKee. "In addition to her work in infectious disease, she has extensive knowledge of preventive services and health promotion. Her steady hand will be critical as we continue getting as many Rhode Islanders vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible, and as we try to make Rhode Island the healthiest place in the country to live, work, and play."

Dr. Bandy currently serves as the Director of RIDOH's Division of Preparedness, Response, Infectious Disease, and Emergency Medical Services. She has led RIDOH's infectious disease division since 2012. In that time, she has helped steer the State's response to the COVID-19 and H1N1 global pandemics, and she has led efforts to prevent or control outbreaks of diseases of significant concern, including tuberculosis, measles, rabies, and meningococcal disease. She has helped guide efforts to dramatically reduce rates of new HIV infections over the last 30 years in Rhode Island, and manages the federal grants received by RIDOH to do routine infectious disease surveillance and response work.

"Rhode Island has one of the best public health workforces in the country, thanks to the talented professionals at RIDOH and the community partnerships that we have developed over the years," said Dr. Bandy. "I look forward to partnering with Governor McKee and his team to support the crucial work happening throughout the Department to promote healthy living in every community throughout the state."

Dr. Bandy completed a pediatric residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard University School of Public Health. She joined RIDOH in 1993 as Rhode Island's State Epidemiologist and the Medical Director for the division that oversaw RIDOH's infectious disease prevention and control work. She became the Director of RIDOH's Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology in 2012.

Dr. Bandy will assume the role of Interim Director on Sunday, June 26. Dr. McDonald's last day of state service will be July 29.

Governor McKee and Dr. Bandy will be available for a media availability next week.