Boynton head assigned key state agency position

James Nord

Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Dr. Ed Ehlinger, head of Boynton Health Service, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health on Friday.

Ehlinger, who assumes his new role in January, has served as the director and chief health officer of Boynton since 1995. Before coming to the University, he worked for the Minneapolis Department of Health for 15 years.

“Dr. Ehlinger’s long experience in public health and in leading a key Minnesota health facility position him well to lead the Minnesota Department of Health and to restore our state’s former preeminence in national health care initiatives,” Dayton said in a statement.

Ehlinger’s new role as MDH commissioner puts him in control of the state agency concerned with “protecting, maintaining and improving” Minnesotan’s health. He will direct roughly 1,500 agency employees.

“This is a thrilling opportunity,” Ehlinger said in the statement. “I take nothing more seriously than the public health, and look forward to working with the [Governor] in finding new and creative ways to better ensure that Minnesotans are healthy, happy and prosperous.”

Ehlinger has won multiple awards, including the Albert Justice Chesely Award from the Minnesota Public Health Association.