Reynolds appoints Garcia to head public health department along with DHS

    Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed Iowa Department of Human Services director Kelly Garcia to temporarily oversee the Iowa Department of Public Health.

    IDPH Director Gerd Clabaugh, 58, who had been directing the central department in the state’s response to COVID-19, announced he was leaving July 31 “to spend more time with family and seek new opportunities.”

    Clabaugh also had run the Iowa Department of Human Services for five months beginning in June 2019 after Reynolds fired Director Jerry Foxhoven.

    Garcia will continue to run DHS as she serves as interim director of the public health department.

    “Kelly Garcia has done an outstanding job at DHS, and her expertise and work ethic will bring great value to IDPH,” Reynolds said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to increase cooperation and collaboration between these two agencies to better serve Iowans.”

    Reynolds appointed Garcia to oversee DHS in November 2019. Garcia previously had held executive positions at Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

    Reynolds earlier appointed Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, to also run the Iowa Finance Authority on an interim basis, and later made the appointment permanent.

    Reynolds fired IFA Director Dave Jamison in March 2018 after two employees filed after employees complained of sexual harassment by Jamison, leading to $4 million in state settlements.

    Perry Beeman
    Senior reporter Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.