public health

Rhode Island's Top Public Health Official to Step Down

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, is resigning

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott speaks at a press conference
Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Rhode Island’s top public health official, who has guided the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, is resigning, Gov. Dan McKee said in a statement Thursday.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, will stay on for two weeks during the search for new leadership, McKee said. She will then act as a consultant to the department for an additional three months to ensure continuity.

No reason for the resignation was provided.

"Dr. Alexander-Scott has been a steady, calm presence for Rhode Island as we’ve worked together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic," McKee said. "Her leadership has been crucial to our whole of government response — helping Rhode Island become number one in testing nationwide and getting more people vaccinated per capita than nearly any other state in the country."

Alexander-Scott, a New York City native who has served in the role since April 2015, has a background as a specialist in infectious diseases for children and adults, and as an associate professor of pediatrics, medicine and public health.

"Serving as the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health has been the most rewarding experience of my career," she said in a statement. "I would like to thank all Rhode Islanders for their trust over the past two years as we have navigated this unprecedented public health crisis together."

Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio also released a statement, saying "Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott’s steadfast leadership during these unprecedented times has been invaluable for our state, and she will be sorely missed. Her expertise, guidance, and reassuring presence have helped Rhode Islanders navigate an incredibly anxious and challenging time. We owe her a deep debt of gratitude. My Senate colleagues and I wish her and her family all the best,” said President Ruggerio."

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