The man who has become the face of local efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year is retiring.
After 25 years of service to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Clay Goddard will retire at the end of February and take a position as Senior Director of Public Health Transformation at Missouri Foundation for Health.
In his new role, Goddard will draw on relationships with local and state public health leaders, his knowledge of Missouri’s public health system and national best practices to move Missouri toward a model public health system.
Goddard started his public health career as a college intern at the health department, and even though he initially intended to pursue an Air Force commission, he found public health to be his calling. “I knew within a week I’d stumbled into the career I wanted for the rest of my life,” Goddard said. “Public health is the perfect intersection of public policy and direct outcomes–you get to help people and see the result of that play out in their lives and in the health of the community you serve.”
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure says Goddard has been “a consummate professional” throughout his career in public health. “His steady hand, compassionate leadership and brave decision making throughout the pandemic has not only provided me with support as Mayor, but also undoubtedly saved lives,” McClure said. “I wish him the best and am very thankful he is staying in the state of Missouri and continuing to focus on ways to improve community health.”
City Manager Jason Gage credits Goddard with being an exceptional leader during very challenging times. “The community is in a great place moving forward, thanks to Clay,” Gage said. “I have 100 percent confidence in our ability to provide continuity of services throughout the rest of the pandemic because Clay has empowered a very talented team of dedicated public servants at the Health Department. While we will miss him, we certainly support him as he continues to do important work statewide.”
Goddard’s last day with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department will be February 26th. Assistant Director Katie Towns will serve as acting director upon his departure, and the city will begin a search to find a permanent replacement.