TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Secretary of Health and Environment Dr. Lee Norman is stepping down according to the office of Governor Laura Kelly.

KDHE Deputy Secretary Ashley Goss will serve as Acting Secretary until a permanent candidate is appointed.

“I want to thank Dr. Lee Norman for his service to the people of Kansas these last three years, and particularly for his leadership and his tireless efforts to fight this unprecedented pandemic,” Governor Kelly said. “From the first confirmed case until today, Dr. Norman has played a vital role within this administration to provide guidance and help steer our state’s response to the virus. His and his team’s work to keep Kansans safe during this once-in-a-century public health crisis has cemented his place as the most consequential Secretary of Health and Environment in Kansas history.”

This news also comes at the same time as Dr. Marci Nielsen, the Chief COVID Advisor for Kansas, stepped down from her role as of Nov. 18.

Dr. Lee Norman has served as Secretary of KDHE since Kelly took office in 2019 and has been at the forefront of Kansas’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Norman also oversaw three divisions while serving with KDHE including Health, Environment and Healthcare Finance, which includes KanCare.

“I want to thank Governor Kelly for the privilege of serving the people of Kansas during this unique, challenging, and important moment in our state’s history,” Norman said.

Before serving with the KDHE, Norman was a distinguished U.S. Air Force family physician, flight surgeon and combat medicine instructor. Norman has served as a chief medical officer for over 26 years, most recently at the University of Kansas Health System and before that at the Swedish Health System in Seattle.