Dr. Don Wright, who completed his medical training in Waco, has been appointed by President Donald Trump as acting secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services after Tom Price’s resignation from the post.
Price resigned amid scandal over his use of private jets at taxpayers’ expense. In his resignation letter, Price said he regrets how “recent events have created a distraction” from the department’s work, including its effort to “reform a broken health care system.”
Wright, who has been with Health and Human Services for 10 years, completed his training in family medicine at Waco’s Family Health Center and Family Medicine Residency Program in 1985, according to a press release from the McLennan County Medical Society. The residency program was associated with the Baylor College of Medicine.
He practiced clinical medicine for 17 years before getting involved in health policy in Washington, D.C. His practice in Waco included working at Concentra Occupational Health & Medical Center and the Baylor University Student Health Center, according to the press release.
“It is an exciting day when a top governmental healthcare position is filled by a physician who did his formative medical training right here in Waco,” medical society President Dr. Scott Warren wrote in the press release.
Wright performed his undergraduate work at Texas Tech University and graduated medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He also holds a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, according to the press release.
“The Waco Family Medicine Residency Program has produced hundreds of outstanding residents over the years since we began in 1970,” Dr. Roland Goertz, CEO of the Waco Family Health Center, wrote in the press release. “We are especially proud to have an alumnus now heading up the Department of Health and Human Services. I remember well when Don informed me of his intent to move to Washington, D.C.”
Wright had been acting assistant secretary of health since February, according to a press release from HHS. He has also been the principal deputy assistant secretary of health, director of the office of disease prevention and health promotion, and held other HHS leadership positions.
He had switched to health policy work in 2003 under President George W. Bush, according to the county medical society.
“I look forward to ensuring that the important work of the department in support of the president’s agenda continues to move forward in the interim period,” Wright wrote in the HHS press release.