Washington: Dr. Rahul Gupta, an Indian-American doctor with a medical degree from Delhi University, is set to lead West Virginia's Bureau for Public Health from Jan 1.
Gupta's appointment as Commissioner of Bureau for Public Health and State Health Officer was announced Thursday by West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling.
He holds an MD from University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi and a master's degree in Public Health from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
He has been certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine since 1999.
Gupta replaces Dr. Letitia E. Tierney, who is resigning effective Dec 31, just 13 months after her appointment.
Tierney was the target of criticism during the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill when crude MCHM was released from a facility in Charleston in West Virginia.
Critics claimed she wasn't giving the public enough information about how the chemical could effect humans, according to local news reports.
"Dr. Gupta is a well-respected and established public health professional," Bowling said.
"His vast experience and wealth of knowledge will greatly benefit DHHR, as will his relationships with officials in government and the medical community."
Since 2009, Gupta has served as the Executive Director and Health Office of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, the largest local health department in West Virginia.
He also serves as the Executive Director and Health Officer of the Putnam County Health Department.
Prior to that, he was Assistant Professor of Medicine of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and a primary care physician at Florida Medical Clinic.
"I am deeply honoured to be appointed to this position by Secretary Bowling," Gupta said.
"Working with professionals and partners across our great state, I look forward to the opportunity to help West Virginians build a healthier future by achieving positive and lasting health outcomes."