Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box to retire, chief medical officer to replace
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box announced Friday she would be retiring from her position on May 31. Dr. Lindsay Weaver, Indiana Department of Health chief medical officer, will replace her starting June 1.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box announced Friday she would be retiring from her position on May 31. She was appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in October 2017 after Jerome Adams was selected as U.S. surgeon general.
During her time as state health commissioner, Box has overseen the governor’s Public Health Commission — which led to unprecedented investments in the state’s public health system; implemented the My Health Baby program statewide to address maternal and infant mortality; and carried out an initiative to prevent lead poisoning in children 6 and younger through screenings.
Box became a public figure for Hoosiers at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when she — along with Holcomb — gave thrice weekly updates to Hoosiers about the new virus and addressed misinformation. She led the state’s response and coordination with local, state and federal agencies and health organizations to secure personal protective equipment, testing partnerships and eventually vaccines.
In a statement, Holcomb thanked Box for finishing out the last year “to shepherd the state Department of Health’s most ambitious legislative agenda yet.”
“I could not have had a better partner in this role, especially in this time. She genuinely cares about the health and well-being of every single Hoosier, and because of her dedication to the betterment of our overall public health system, the state is at the forefront of transformational change that will result in a healthier Indiana,” Holcomb said.
Lawmakers made unprecedented investments in health funding in the two-year budget passed this legislative session: $225 million for local health departments and $100 million for mental health resources.
Before serving as state health commissioner, Box practiced women’s health for nearly three decades and served as a member of the state’s task force for neonatal abstinence syndrome, which affects newborns exposed to addictive substances in the womb.
“It has been the greatest honor of my professional life to serve this administration, the Indiana Department of Health and Hoosiers across the state,” Box said in a statement. “The past five and a half years have been filled with challenges and opportunities unlike any that public health has ever encountered, and the public health workforce across the state has met those challenges with a heart and determination that have inspired me every day.”
Holcomb has named Dr. Lindsay Weaver, Indiana Department of Health chief medical officer, to replace Box.
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Weaver led the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and spearheaded the development of the statewide lab testing network. Box and Weaver were the two most visible members of Holcomb's administration — behind the governor himself — throughout the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Taking over the position of state health commissioner from Dr. Box is an enormous responsibility, and it is an honor to follow in her footsteps,” Weaver said in a statement. “Dr. Box has provided exceptional leadership during the past six years and her commitment to public health has been an inspiration to many. I look forward to building on her legacy.”
Weaver chairs the Indiana Commission on Women and is an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. She also practices at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
She takes over as state health commissioner on June 1.