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Dr. Troutman Discusses His Decision To Leave Louisville

Outgoing director of public health Dr. Adewale Troutman says his decision to step down was not entirely politically motivated.Troutman announced Tuesday he would leave Louisville for a job with the University of South Florida. Mayor Jerry Abramson appointed Troutman in 2003, and the next mayor could appoint a different health director. While the issue hasn't come up in the mayor's race, Troutman says it has been on his mind. It was not, however, the main reason for his departure."I don't want anyone to think that was the major decision; that it was, "Well, we've got a new mayor so we have to get out of town," he says. "No, we've been looking for a while. It's been seven years we've been here."Troutman will step down in November.Since 2003, Dr. Troutman has helped secure millions of dollars in grants and has overseen the founding of several public health programs, including the Center for Health Equity and the Mayor's Healthy Hometown Movement. Currently, the department is administering flu and H1N1 vaccines and putting together an education program on trans-fat.Troutman's resignation also means his wife Denise Vazquez Troutman will leave her position as head of the Center for Women and Families, which helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Dr. Troutman says he and his wife's departure will not mean an end to their projects in Louisville."No one is indispensable," he says. "That's a lesson I learned a long time ago. You may have your things together, but no one is indispensable. The challenge is—for the work that we've all been doing—to take it to the next level."Dr. Troutman will be temporarily replaced by medical director Dr. Matt Zahn, who says he plans to stay and continue Troutman's work. The next mayor is expected to launch a national search for a new director.

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.