Shuford Named Interim Commissioner of State Health Department

Hellerstedt to Retire After Nearly 14 Years of Service
Media Advisory
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
Christine Mann, 512-424-6951

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Cecile Erwin Young today named Dr. Jennifer Shuford interim commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, effective Oct. 1, replacing Dr. John Hellerstedt who is retiring from state service.

Shuford currently serves as chief state epidemiologist at DSHS, where, as Texas' top disease detective, she uses epidemiologic and medical data to inform public health decisions, including many during the COVID-19 response.

"Dr. Shuford's passion for service, extensive experience and knowledge in public health will serve us well as she steps into this role," said Young. "I'm confident she will successfully lead DSHS through this transitional time."

Young also recognized Hellerstedt for his nearly 14 years of state service. Hellerstedt is retiring effective, Sept. 30. He is credited for spearheading the state's public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has led the department since 2016.

Shuford graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and received her Doctor of Medicine degree from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. She completed an internal medicine residency at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where she served as chief resident. Shuford completed an infectious disease fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She earned her Master of Public Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to joining DSHS in 2017, Shuford practiced medicine in Austin as an infectious disease physician.

Shuford serves on the faculty of the DSHS Preventive Medicine and Public Health Residency Program and is a member of the Travis County Medical Society and the Infectious Disease Society of America. She is also a member of the Texas Medical Association, where she serves as a consultant to TMA's Committee on Infectious Diseases.