This story was updated on Friday, June 26 at 7:35 p.m.
The director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Dr. Dawn Emerick, is stepping down.
City Manager Erik Walsh said he received a letter of resignation Thursday night from Emerick. In the letter she notes the recent Black Lives Matter protests forced her to reflect on equity and whether a white woman should be leading Metro Health in a city that is 60% Latinx.
"It's time to place a leader of color at the top of this Department," she said in the letter.
Emerick started the job in January as the city began to receive coronavirus evacuees from cruise ships to Lackland Air Force Base.
Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger — who was previously Metro Health's director — was named interim director Friday evening. A statement from city officials said Bridger originally planned to leave her position with the city next month to begin a consulting practice, but she will stay with the department until a new permanent Metro Health Director is appointed.
“I have full confidence in Dr. Bridger and the Metro Health team in its ongoing management of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Walsh.
He said he and Bridger will develop a plan going forward to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
VIDEO: San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh comments on the sudden resignation of SA Metro Health Director Dawn Emerick.
“Public health officials in this country probably have the most difficult job right now.”
— Joey Palacios (@Joeycules) June 26, 2020
"We hired her (Emerick) to be the director of Metro Health and the moment she got here she’s been responding to a pandemic, so she never really had the opportunity to be the director of Metro Health," said Walsh. "But I’m appreciative of her work. It’s a tough job… anywhere in this country right now."
TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.