Jackson County's medical director quietly resigned in January
Dr. Leona O’Keefe served in the position for only a year before leaving. She played a crucial role in the region’s response to the COVID pandemic.
O'Keefe, who was a frequent guest on Jefferson Public Radio to talk about the pandemic, submitted her resignation in December. Her last day was January 27, 2023.
She was immediately replaced by Dr. John Mahan, who had served as the county’s psychiatric medical director for seven years. But the new transition was not pushed out publicly in department communications.
Stacy Brubaker, department director of Health and Human Services in Jackson County, said the department has been open about this transition.
"I believe we have been pretty open about that and that we have talked about it with anybody that has asked. I know we talked about doing a press release and, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure where that landed," she said.
As of Monday, O’Keefe was still listed as medical director on the county’s website. Brubaker called the lack of press release "an oversight."
O'Keefe said she left the role for family reasons.
"I still very much believe in the work of public health and enjoyed the work there in the time that I had," she said.
"I think it ended up being more than she thought it would be and really has small kids at home. So when she approached me about feeling like she needed to spend her time and attention with her family, I said that was fine, and I totally understood," Brubaker said.
O'Keefe said she will begin working for Jackson Care Connect, a health care provider network, in the coming weeks.
Update: This story has been updated to include O'Keefe's new employer.