Governor Stitt appoints interim Oklahoma Commissioner of Health

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Stitt has named an interim commissioner of health.

Col. Lance Frye, M.D. is an interim department chair and professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the OSU Center for Health Sciences and the State Air Surgeon for the Oklahoma Air National Guard.  

This comes as Stitt’s appointee, Gary Cox, was not confirmed by legislators due to concerns over his qualifications and handling of money during the pandemic.

Frye has already been working with the state in its COVID-19 response and says he is ready to continue the mission of protecting Oklahomans.

“Continue with the transparency of the data that we’ve been getting and working with these county-city health departments and strengthen up those local responses,” he said. 

Stitt says Frye played a key role on the Governor’s Solution Task Force, working with the National Guard and deploying with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

“I’m confident that our state department of health will be in great, great hands,” said Stitt. 

Frye practiced medicine with a focus on gynecology and obstetrics for several years before joining the Air Force in 2005.

He was deployed in both operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom serving in areas such as combat search and rescue and casualty evacuation.  

He says both jobs have prepared him for the high-pressure work being done in this pandemic.

“Quite honestly, being an OB-GYN is really great or it’s an emergency, so you learn how to handle those situations well,” Frye said. 

With the health department, Frye says he worked with the hospital association to put together data and look at projections to ensure our state has what it needs for now and possible waves in the future.

​“We saw what went well and what we could learn from and we’ll continue to improve,” said Frye. 

Frye says he’s unsure yet if he will step down from his interim department chair with OSU Health Sciences.

He also says telemedicine is key in helping build better medical care for more rural families.

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