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As Domestic Violence Accusations Surface, Interim Oklahoma Health Director Resigns

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma
Former Interim Health Commissioner Preston Doerflinger, left.

Interim health commissioner Preston Doerflinger resigned Wednesday after allegations of past spousal abuse surfaced.

The board of the Oklahoma State Department of Health accepted Doerflinger’s resignation, after spending over an hour in a private meeting to discuss his employment.

On Monday, The Frontier reported that Tulsa police responded to a domestic violence call at Doerflinger’s house in 2012. Police reports show his then-wife told officers she was choked during an argument — but authorities did not pursue charges.

Before Governor Mary Fallin appointed Doerflinger to lead the embattled health agency, which is being investigated for $30 million dollars of financial mismanagement, Doerflinger was head of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and the governor’s finance secretary. An OMES spokesperson says Doerflinger has also resigned from those positions.

The health agency’s federal policy director will run the agency until a long-term replacement is chosen.

Jackie Fortiér worked for StateImpact Oklahoma from November 2017 to January 2020, reporting on a variety of topics and heading up its health reporting initiative. She has many journalism awards to her name during her years of multi-media reporting in Colorado, and was part of a team recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists with a Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in breaking news reporting in 2013.
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