AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission named a new interim commissioner after Dr. John Hellerstedt announced his Sept. 30 retirement following nearly 14 years of service.

Dr. Jennifer Shuford will take over for Hellerstedt beginning Oct. 1. She graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry before earning her Master of Public Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health. She later received her Doctor of Medicine degree from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

According to the THHSC, Shuford currently serves as chief state epidemiologist at the Texas Department of State Health Services. Prior to joining DSHS in 2017, Shuford practiced medicine in Austin as an infectious disease physician.

“Dr. Shuford’s passion for service, extensive experience and knowledge in public health will serve us well as she steps into this role,” THHSC Executive Commissioner Cecile Erwin Young said in a release. “I’m confident she will successfully lead DSHS through this transitional time.”

According to the commission, Hellerstedt was credited with spearheading the state’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.