Three years after becoming the leader of Louisiana’s Department of Health, Secretary Dr. Courtney N. Phillips is resigning.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news release Monday that Phillips’ resignation was effective Thursday. Veteran attorney Stephen Russo, who has served as executive counsel since 2008, will replace her, the governor said.
“Secretary Phillips is one of the hardest working, most capable, and most accomplished people I’ve ever met,” Edwards said.
He said Phillips’ “decisive and thoughtful leadership saved lives” as she assumed the post at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She spearheaded our response as we established an unprecedented mass testing program and innovative vaccine rollout and distribution program,” he noted.
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Under Phillips’ leadership, the department also made strides in areas such as health equity and maternal mortality, the governor said.
The statement issued by Edwards’ office did not detail what Phillips plans to do after she leaves, but said she was glad to have returned to Louisiana after leading health and human services agencies in Nebraska and Texas.
“I’m a big believer in public service, so the opportunity to return to my home state and give back in such a meaningful way at such a critical time is something that will stay with me for the rest of my career,” Phillips said .
Phillips’ resignation is the latest by an official in Edwards’ administration as the end of his term in the governor’s mansion nears.