PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state official who helped lead South Dakota’s response to COVID-19 and who shepherded rule-making for the voter-backed legalization of medical cannabis will be taking a new role with one of South Dakota’s major healthcare systems.

Kim Malsam-Rysdon is stepping down as state government’s secretary of health on January 7. She is joining Avera, where she will be vice president for public policy.

Sioux Falls-based Avera is the major provider of health care in Pierre, where Malsam-Rysdon lives and her husband has long owned a sign business.

Malsam-Rysdon said she will be working for Deb Fischer-Clemens, a former legislator who is senior vice president for public policy. Avera’s president is Bob Sutton, formerly of Pierre, where he ran Avera St. Mary’s Hospital.

Governor Kristi Noem announced the departure Friday, saying Malsam-Rysdon was heading to the private sector.

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Malsam-Rysdon is the latest top official to move on from Noem’s administration. The governor announced in October that Liza Clark was stepping down as commissioner of finance and management.