Just two months after she took the job as Sonoma County’s interim health officer, Dr. Kismet Baldwin has been appointed health officer of San Mateo County, according to San Mateo County officials.
The move came as a surprise to Sonoma County Health employees, who learned of Baldwin’s departure through San Mateo County media reports.
Those reports were based on a May 23 news release from the San Mateo County Executive’s Office.
Sonoma County has made no public announcement about Baldwin’s departure.
One Sonoma public health employee, who asked to remain anonymous because she feared retaliation from top officials, said she was not surprised.
“A lot of us are hearing from media outlets,” the employee said. “It’s frustrating but I’m not surprised. We’re circulating the article among ourselves.”
The public health staffer said she and others have not received any word from Tina Rivera, director of the Department of Health Services, public health’s parent agency.
Baldwin was appointed Sonoma County’s interim health office on April 6. She replaced Dr. Sundari Mase, who left after three years marked by the pandemic and other major public health issues, such as wildfire recovery.
Baldwin played a key role in addressing racial disparities during the pandemic and led the county’s response to mpox, previously known as monkeypox, last summer.
The San Mateo news release states that Baldwin will begin her new post on Aug. 7. She replaces Dr. Scott Morrow, who has worked for San Mateo County for 31 years.
The San Mateo County news release quoted as saying, “As a health officer in the Bay Area, I have worked with many wonderful colleagues in San Mateo County on regional initiatives, including response to COVID-19, mpox, and other public health matters. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to build on Dr. Morrow’s decades of service and commitment to the residents of San Mateo County.”
The Press Democrat has reached out to Baldwin, Rivera and other county officials for comment.
County spokesman Paul Gullixson said the county does not usually make public annoucements about departures of key officials. He said health services leadership will likely make a statement closer to her Aug. 7 departure.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @pressreno.