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The Pima County Health Department will be led by former Assistant U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Theresa Cullen on June 7 after county administrator Chuck Huckelberry announced the hiring on Monday.

Cullen will replace interim health director Dr. Bob England, who came out of retirement to fill the role until the county replaced Marcy Flanagan, PhD. Flanagan left Pima County to take the director’s spot at the Maricopa County Health Department in 2019.

England will stay on as a part-time physician to assist the county through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Cullen will begin working part-time May 4 as vice-chair of the county’s Back to Business Task Force.

“This is huge for Pima County. I am thrilled to have Dr. Cullen join our team,” said Pima County Chief Medical Officer and Deputy County Administrator Dr. Francisco Garcia, in the announcement. “Dr. Cullen is a respected and eminent public health physician who also is an exceptional administrator. She knows Pima County and Southern Arizona well and will build upon the strategies and programs we’ve established over the past decade to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in Pima County.”

Cullen is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where she is also a clinical professor.

In her new role with Pima County, she will be responsible for leading the response to COVID-19. Cullen previously worked during the 2014/15 Ebola crisis as a volunteer physician with Partners in Health in Sierra Leone.

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