Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s first surgeon general, has resigned just three years after taking the position.
“I have always said self-care isn’t selfish. They are words that I live by,” Harris said in a statement. “As I transition out of this role and focus on prioritizing care for myself and my family, I will never stop supporting efforts to improve the health and well-being of our communities.”
The award-winning doctor was a leading expert on the health effects of childhood trauma. She also founded the Center for Youth Wellness (CYW) and was a member of the Boys and Men of Color Trauma Advisory Committee. February 11 will be her last day in her prominent position.
She took to Twitter to share the news, saying,
“I am filled with emotion as I share that my last day serving as CA Surgeon General will be February 11,” she said. “I am incredibly proud to have been part of a team that, together, worked tirelessly to protect the health and well-being of all Californians at such a critical time.”
📢 I am filled with emotion as I share that my last day serving as CA Surgeon General will be February 11. I am incredibly proud to have been part of a team that, together, worked tirelessly to protect the health and well-being of all Californians at such a critical time. pic.twitter.com/bwmwSwY80t
— Dr. Nadine Burke Harris (@DrBurkeHarris) February 2, 2022
In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced her post in a statement released by his office. According to the statement, Harris would be paid $20,000 a year for the position. She also led the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health, a partnership between the CYW and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.
Harris said she was grateful for being appointed such an honor by Gov. Newsom.
“I am grateful to Governor Newsom for his foresight in creating the role and giving me the opportunity to serve as the inaugural California Surgeon General.”
As surgeon general of California, she made it her duty to promote health in all communities in her state, especially Black communities. Harris made numerous appearances at Gov. Newsom’s press conferences to promote vaccinations in Black neighborhoods and administered vaccines at community immunization clinics during the pandemic.
In her statement, she announced that Chief Health Officer, Dr. Devika Bhushan, will be taking over her post.
“As I pass the baton to Acting Surgeon General, Dr. Devika Bhushan—who has served alongside me since the early founding of this office—I have full faith in her ability to harness the momentum we’ve created and to take it to the next level.”