OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Keith Reed has been confirmed as the Commissioner of Health for the state of Oklahoma.

Reed has been with the Oklahoma State Department of Health for nearly 20 years, serving in various positions throughout the agency.  

He has been serving as OSDH’s Interim Commissioner of Health for seven months prior to Thursday’s confirmation.

“It is a true honor to be selected as the Commissioner of Health,” said Keith Reed. “I thank Governor Stitt for nominating me, the Health and Human Services Committee, and the full Senate for their trust in me. I am proud to serve Oklahoma and work alongside dedicated professionals as we work to improve the health of friends and neighbors across the state.” 

Reed has his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University and possesses a Master of Public Health Degree from the University of Oklahoma. He is also Certified in Public Health through the National Board of Public Health Examiners.  

Even with those degrees, Reed did not meet previous requirements to qualify for official appointment to the health commissioner position.

However, those requirements changed last month when Stitt signed Senate Bill 709 into law. Two days later, Stitt nominated Reed for the job.

Previous Oklahoma law required the State Commissioner of Health to meet at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Possession of a Doctor of Medicine Degree and a license to practice medicine in this state;
  • Possession of an Osteopathic Medicine Degree and a license to practice medicine in this state;
  • Possession of a Doctoral degree in Public Health or Public Health Administration; or
  • Possession of a Master of Science Degree and a minimum of five (5) years of supervisory experience in the administration of health services.

The new law exempts potential candidates from those requirements if the candidate has at least a Master’s degree and has managerial experience with state agencies or large projects.

The bill’s supporters said changing the qualifications widens the pool of candidates. Opponents said it gives the governor too many loopholes to name someone who is not qualified.