FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Allen County has a new health commissioner.
Dr. Thomas Gutwein was officially announced as the new Health Commissioner during the Allen County Department of Health meeting Monday night.
Gutwein replaces Dr. Matthew Sutter.
Gutwein is a practicing emergency physician with nearly 30 years of health care and leadership experience in northeast Indiana. He has served as director of Emergency Medicine at Parkview Health.
Gutwein told the board that he is excited to expand on what they’re already doing under Sutter.
Sutter was named the county’s health commissioner on May 28, 2020. He replaced Dr. Deborah McMahan, who served in the position for 20 years.
Sutter’s stint was expected to be much shorter than McMahan’s. When he took over the role, he said he took the position with the caveat that he would lead the county “through the emergency phase of COVID” and would then reevaluate.
“When I accepted the position I accepted it through the emergency phase of COVID… Now that things are settling down a bit it’s time for a new focus, and time for someone to step in and look at the broader public health,” Sutter said.
Sutter and the rest of the executive board had positive things to say about the move.
“Dr. Gutwein is an outstanding physician, he’s going to do a great job of carrying on the work,” Sutter said.
Not only is the commissioner changing, the entire focus of the Board of Health will slowly move off of COVID-19 under Gutwein.
“The fact that he’s a real go-getter I think are going to serve us well, and I think we’ll see a good transition into maybe what some of his goals are slightly different as we move away from COVID,” said Mindy Waldron, Department Administrator at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.
The Allen County Commissioners issued the following statement:
“Dr. Sutter came in at a unique time in our community’s history and traversed the landmines in an exceptional fashion. His ability to lead the Department of Health through such challenging circumstances was extraordinary. We are very thankful for his leadership and wish him all the success as he moves on to the next chapter in his career. We wish equal success to Dr. Gutwein and welcome him to the Allen County Department of Health. He will have big shoes to fill but comes to us with a tremendous pedigree. We believe that Dr. Gutwein will help to take the department to the next level.”
Gutwein was not available for comment.