West Virginia

Department of Health, Department of Health Facilities, and Department of Human Services

Department of Health
Department of Health Facilities
Department of Human Services

DHHR’s Interim State Health Officer Named Permanent Leader


West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch today announced the appointment of Catherine C. Slemp, MD, MPH, as the permanent State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health, effective immediately. She previously served as the interim leader following the resignation of Dr. Rahul Gupta in November 2018. 

In 1994, Dr. Slemp began working for DHHR in the Bureau for Public Health as the founding director of what is now the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and subsequently directed the state's emergency preparedness efforts. From 2002 through 2011, she served as the Acting State Health Officer for DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. 

Before returning to DHHR in 2018, Dr. Slemp served as a public health consultant for governmental, academic, professional and community organizations and as a relief and development coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.

“Dr. Slemp has done tremendous work on behalf of DHHR not only since she returned in 2018, but throughout her career,” said Secretary Crouch. “She has demonstrated a commitment to create a healthier state and is highly respected by public health officials in West Virginia and nationally. I cannot be more pleased that Dr. Slemp has agreed to continue in this role.” 

Dr. Slemp holds a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Princeton University, a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and an M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine.

She is a published author and has served on numerous boards for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to work with dedicated, creative, and mission-focused colleagues at DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health,” said Dr. Slemp. “These individuals, together with many phenomenal partners, work endlessly to build healthier futures for West Virginians, and I am privileged to continue assisting in this mission in a permanent capacity.”

Contact Information

Media contact: DHHRCommunications@wv.gov or (304) 558-7899
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