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Department of Health Services

For Immediate Release

Dr. Kismet Baldwin-Santana to be appointed Sonoma County’s interim Health Officer

SANTA ROSA, CA | April 06, 2023

Dr. Kismet Baldwin-Santana, an experienced public health official who helped lead Sonoma County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been named interim health officer by the director of the Department of Health Services. A pediatrics specialist with a master’s degree in public health, Dr. Baldwin-Santana has served as Sonoma County’s deputy public health officer since July 2020.

Department of Health Services Director Tina Rivera said Dr. Baldwin-Santana’s experience and knowledge of Sonoma County’s health care system make her an ideal choice to step into the interim role.

“Kismet has been an excellent leader during the pandemic, forging valuable relationships within the local health care community,” Rivera said. “She has intimate knowledge of the department as the deputy public health officer, and she was the natural choice to take on the interim health officer role.”

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will consider approving the appointment on April 18. Dr. Baldwin-Santana will serve in the interim role while Sonoma County conducts a nationwide search for a permanent replacement for Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase, who is leaving April 7 for a job with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health officer serves as the chief medical officer and top health policy official for the county. They are granted authority from the state to declare public health emergencies, issue health orders and impose penalties for noncompliance.

“I am honored to step into this role and tackle some of Sonoma County’s most pressing health challenges,” Dr. Baldwin-Santana said. “I believe this position will take advantage of my broad public health skill set. I’m looking forward to leading our incredibly hard-working team to achieve our goals of making a healthier, thriving Sonoma County.”

Dr. Baldwin-Santana earned a Doctoral degree in medicine from the Ohio State University School of Medicine and a Master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. She has previously worked as a neonatologist at Elliot Hospital in New Hampshire; as the public health officer for San Joaquin County; and as a quarantine medical officer for CDC contractor Caduceus Healthcare.

Media Contact: 
Matt Brown, Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403