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Former Interim State Health Commissioner Gary Cox Named Associate Dean in OU’s Hudson College of Public Health

Former Interim State Health Commissioner Gary Cox Named Associate Dean in OU’s Hudson College of Public Health

June 29, 2020

Gary Cox, former interim commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, has been appointed as an associate dean in the Hudson College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma, pending OU Board of Regents’ approval.

At the Hudson College of Public Health, he will serve as associate dean for public health practice and community partnerships and also as a professor in the Department of Health Administration and Policy.

“Gary Cox is a nationally recognized leader in public health practice with a track record of outstanding service at the city-county, state and national level,” said Dr. Gary Raskob, dean of the Hudson College of Public Health. “We are delighted he has chosen to join our college to bring his extensive experience for the benefit our students, and to strengthen our partnerships with governmental public health and private community partners.”

Prior to joining the Oklahoma State Health Department, Cox served for 10 years as the executive director of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, where he was nationally recognized for his cutting-edge approaches for better health.

From 1969 until 2009, Cox held a variety of roles for the Tulsa Health Department, starting as an environmentalist before going on to serve as legal counsel until eventually serving as director for 15 years.

During his 25 years leading Oklahoma’s two largest city-county health departments, he established collaborative relationships with government entities and community partners, developed public policy and launched efforts aimed at improving community health.

“The OU Hudson College of Public Health is an essential resource for our state to improve health outcomes,” said Dr. Jason Sanders, senior vice president and provost of the OU Health Sciences Center and vice chair of the board for OU Medicine. “Gary Cox brings national leadership and over 50 years of public health experience in Oklahoma to advance our goals of groundbreaking research, health workforce training and statewide partnerships.”

In addition to his work in the public health sector, Cox has also served in a number of academic positions, first as a teacher for Cleveland Public Schools and then as an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Tulsa College of Law. He later taught for 17 years as a part-time visiting associate professor for the Hudson College of Public Health, where, in addition to teaching, he co-developed the Integrated Public Health Practice course and worked closely with the dean on blending public health practice and academia while emphasizing workforce development.

Along with his new roles in the Hudson College of Public Health, Cox will have a secondary appointment as a clinical professor in the OU College of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine.

“The College of Medicine is very pleased to have Gary as a new member of our team,” said Dr. John Zubialde, executive dean of the OU College of Medicine. “He brings a wealth of experience in public and population health, and he knows well the needs of Oklahomans. His expertise will help OU Medicine on our journey to being the state’s leader in helping communities across the state address the heath disparities that are crippling the health of our people and our economy. His appointment in both the Hudson College of Public Health and the College of Medicine continues our goal of forging strong relationships between these vital disciplines.”

Cox is actively involved in a number of professional and civic organizations, including serving a term as the elected president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, which represents 3,000 local health departments across the United States. He is regularly sought out as a program presenter for organizations in the public health sector.

Cox earned bachelor of arts degrees in education and history and a minor in science from Northeastern State University. He also attended the University of Tulsa College of Law, where he earned his juris doctorate.


About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit