OKLAHOMA CITY — Two of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Cabinet secretaries are leaving during the COVID-19 pandemic to return to full-time careers.
Stitt announced on Monday the appointment of Kevin Corbett as secretary of health and mental health and Elizabeth Pollard as secretary of science and innovation.
The action comes as former Secretaries Jerome Loughridge and Dr. Kayse Shrum return to their previous full-time careers.
Loughridge and Shrum, who served as volunteers in the Stitt administration, played key roles in the state’s COVID-19 response. They expressed the need to return to their careers, according to Stitt’s office.
“As president of the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, several urgent matters need my attention, including safely preparing for the return of students to our campuses this fall and bolstering our health care delivery network to combat COVID-19,” Shrum said. “My resignation does not diminish my support for Gov. Stitt and his goals, and my admiration for him remains unabated.”
Loughridge is president of TMG Service Co., an Oklahoma City-based capital asset management company.
Loughridge and Shrum were involved in the initial recruitment of Corbett and Pollard for their previous positions and recommended them as their successors.
Corbett has served as chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state’s Medicaid agency, since August 2019 and has four decades of organizational leadership and financial expertise.
Pollard has served as deputy secretary of science and innovation since January. She is executive chair of Applied Silver, a privately held company located in Silicon Valley addressing infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship. She has been a member of the Governor’s Solution Task Force and led the state’s COVID-19 testing strategy.
Corbett and Pollard’s appointments will require Senate confirmation during the next legislative session.