Mendoza steps down as public health commissioner

Print More
Michael Mendoza M.D. (Photo: Monroe County)

Michael Mendoza M.D. has decided to conclude his service as commissioner of public health, effective immediately.  He will focus on future opportunities reflecting his passion for public health and the community, Monroe County says.

Marielena Velez de Brown M.D.,deputy commissioner of public health, will serve as acting commissioner of public health. The county will conduct a search for Mendoza’s replacement.

Mendoza, who was recommended for another term in 2022, was appointed interim commissioner of public health in 2016. If he stayed in the role, his term would have ended in 2028.

Mendoza led a department of roughly 250 employees with a $74 million budget. He oversaw a wide array of functions ranging from addiction services and maternal and child health to epidemiology and disease control. Its responsibilities also include being prepared to respond quickly to public health emergencies.

Mendoza became a household name when the COVID-19 pandemic struck Monroe County. Residents tuned into regular briefings where he played a pivotal role. In an interview with the Rochester Beacon, Mendoza described the pandemic as a “life-changing event for everybody,” but in particular for public health officials and staff. 

Mendoza  began his career practicing family medicine on Chicago’s South Side. He moved to Rochester in 2009 to become an assistant professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and serve as medical director of Highland Family Medicine, one of the largest family medicine training practices in the country. He sees  patients as a primary care physician.

“I wish the best for all the dedicated staff in the Department of Public Health and I am certain that the department will continue to be successful,” Mendoza said in a statement.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

One thought on “Mendoza steps down as public health commissioner

  1. My sincere congratulations and thanks to Dr. Mendoza for his steady and assuring hand during the pandemic. It seems the work of a Public Health Commissioner is either quiet to the point of people being unaware or explosive due to some dangerous situation. Dr. Mendoza, no doubt, had to put private interests aside for several years and served his community well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *