Gary Cox, former director of the Tulsa Health Department, has been appointed as Oklahoma Commissioner of Health, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday.

The position will require Senate confirmation.

He will begin leading the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Friday.

Cox currently serves as executive director of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

“Gary Cox is a respected and dedicated public health leader in our state who brings over 40 years of experience to his new role as the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health,” Stitt said in a news release.

“His guidance at the OSDH will play a critical role in our vision to improve health outcomes for all Oklahomans, and I look forward to accomplishing top 10 results together as we work to efficiently and effectively deliver services and move the needle in this critical area.”

“I am honored to serve Governor Stitt, Secretary (of Health and Mental Health Jerome) Loughridge and the people of Oklahoma as Commissioner of Health,” Cox said in the release.

Cox will succeed Tom Bates, interim commissioner and former assistant attorney general.

Cox previously served as an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Tulsa College of Law and is presently serving as a visiting associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, College of Public Health.

Before joining the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Cox worked as an environmentalist for the Tulsa Health Department, where he went on to serve as legal counsel before eventually serving as director for 15 years.

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