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Austin’s new medical director starts this month

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

After a busy term as interim medical director, Dr. Mark Escott is making way for his permanent replacement. The city has announced that Dr. Desmar Walkes will be filling the role starting May 31. According to a press release from the city, Walkes comes to Austin after serving as Bastrop’s local health authority since 2007, where she was the point person for pandemic response, vaccine distribution and communication with local officials. “I’m honored to be joining the Austin Public Health team and look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead as the next medical director and health authority for the city of Austin and Travis County,” Walkes said in a statement to the press. Escott, who has been in the position on an interim basis since 2019, also made a statement, saying, “While the mission is not yet complete, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to improve locally and I feel confident that our next public health authority will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure a seamless transition. … Therefore, this is an opportune time for my service as interim health authority to conclude so that I can fully engage in my new role as the city’s chief medical officer effective May 31.”

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