Newly appointed Missouri DHSS Director Donald Kauerauf addresses the press as Gov. Mike Parson observes on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Credit: From Facebook Live / Gov. Mike Parson's Office

Last Friday Missouri Gov. Mike Parson appointed Donald G. Kauerauf to head up the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the agency that oversees the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. Kauerauf, who worked in and helped lead the Illinois Department of Public Health for 30 years, is expected to largely focus on Missouri’s Covid-19 response, as the state has become a center of the virus’ rise in Delta variant infections.

At the Illinois Department of Public Health, Kauerauf developed a statewide structure to improve communication between the Department and local public health agencies and directed the development and implementation of the nation’s first statewide pandemic influenza exercise.

“Don is no stranger to state government and has more than 30 years of experience in public health and emergency management with the state of Illinois. It is obvious that he has a firm grasp on public health issues and the COVID-19 crisis, and we are confident in his ability to lead DHSS,” said Gov. Parson in a written statement.

In April, previous DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams, resigned with no explanation, in the middle of the state’s vaccine rollout.

Lyndall Fraker, director of the Missouri Medical Marijuana Program, is expected to continue in his position.

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Editor Mike is an itinerate reporter, recovering political consultant, and strategy game devotee.