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TOPEKA, Kan. — Dr. Lee Norman, the man who has helped lead the state of Kansas through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, resigned from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Thursday.

KDHE Secretary Norman served in the position since 2019 when Gov. Laura Kelly took office. He has been responsible for the state’s response to the pandemic, including its COVID-19 testing and vaccination strategy.

Norman took time to thank staff members who worked closely with health care responders and hospitals across the state.

“I want to thank Governor Kelly for the privilege of serving the people of Kansas during this unique, challenging, and important moment in our state’s history,” Dr. Norman said. “I could not be more proud of each and every staff member at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For the last two years they have gone above and beyond facing unimaginable circumstances to create and execute the framework of the Kansas’ COVID-19 response strategy.”

The governor also thanked Norman for his dedication and service.

“I want to thank Dr. Lee Norman for his service to the people of Kansas these last three years, and particularly for his leadership and his tireless efforts to fight this unprecedented pandemic,” Gov. Kelly said. “From the first confirmed case until today, Dr. Norman has played a vital role within this administration to provide guidance and help steer our state’s response to the virus. His and his team’s work to keep Kansans safe during this once-in-a-century public health crisis has cemented his place as the most consequential Secretary of Health and Environment in Kansas history.”

KDHE Deputy Secretary Ashley Goss will serve as Acting Secretary until a permanent candidate is appointed.