Family Service president next interim Metro Health director, Bridger to oversee San Antonio COVID-19 response

BEXAR COUNTY (KTSA News) — Despite making plans to leave her leadership roles with the City of San Antonio, Dr. Colleen Bridger will be sticking around a bit longer.

Bridger, who is currently Assistant City Manager and the interim director of the San Antonio Metro Health Department, was set to retire from the city January 8th.

However, the City of San Antonio announced Monday Bridger will continue to work for the city beyond that date as the city’s incident commander of the COVID-19 pandemic response.  She will remain in that capacity through the pandemic.

“The Metro Health Department has proven itself as a high-functioning, exceptional team,” said Bridger. “With cases surging, vaccine planning underway and several new initiatives ramping up, our team of public health professionals remains focused on getting through this pandemic and improving the overall health of the San Antonio community.”

“We are in a critical juncture in the fight against COVID-19, and asking a new health director to assume responsibility at this stage of the pandemic isn’t in the best interests of the community or the City of San Antonio organization,” said San Antonio city manager Erik Walsh. “Dr. Bridger and I have reached an agreement that will allow us to maintain continuity and utilize her public health pandemic expertise. Once again, Colleen has answered the call of duty, and we as a community owe her a huge debt of gratitude.”

The city is continuing its search for a new Metro Health director after the previous person to hold the job, Dawn Emerick, left after a few months in the role earlier this year in the middle of the pandemic.

Along with the news of Bridger’s continued role with the city, the municipal government also announced Mary Garr as the next interim Metro Health director while the search continues.

“At Family Service we focus on addressing the social determinants of health,” said Garr. “This interim assignment represents an important partnership in the work that Family Service and Metro Health can expand to jointly address and improve the health of our community.”

Garr is currently the president and CEO of Family Service Association.  The city said Garr will serve as a “loaned executive” to the city, meaning she will be splitting her time between the Family Service Association and Metro Health.

If you are interested in applying to become the city’s next Metro Health director, the job listing has been posted on the City of San Antonio’s website.

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