By Paidashe Mandivengerei
ZIMBABWEAN born infectious disease specialist, Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, has been appointed director of the Department of Health of St Louis, Missouri in the United States of America.
Hlatshwayo was appointed on Wednesday by St Louis mayor Tishaura Jones, succeeding Fredrick Echols who was acting health director and will take over officially on the 18th of October.
At 39 years, she has made history as the first black woman health director of St. Louis.
Announcing her appointment, St. Louis mayor, Jones said he was confident in Hlatshwayo given her wealth of experience in the medical field.
“As the Covid-19 crisis deepens across the country, St Louis needs a health leader who can reach hesitant communities about the importance of mitigation and vaccination.
“With her impressive background and extensive experience as an infectious disease expert, I am confident in Dr Hlatshwayo Davis’ ability to lead our Covid-19 response as well as our efforts to improve health outcomes across the city,” she said.
Hlatshwayo has a medical degree with the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and a Master’s in Public Health Degree with Case Western Reserve University.
She also completed a Sexually Transmitted Infections fellowship, non-ACGME HIV fellowship and an Infectious Diseases fellowship at the Washington University School of Medicine.
In her acceptance speech, Hlatshwayo said, “I am humbled and honored to accept this position, which affords me the opportunity to serve the city I love now at the highest level.
“I am thankful for the opportunity provided me at the such an important time in our nation to step up and to serve as the director of health as we face perhaps the most challenging part of this pandemic.”