Stamford's health director decides not to renew contract with city; mayor names acting leader

Photo of Brianna Gurciullo
Dr. Jennifer Calder, then-director of health for the city of Stamford, in the Government Center in downtown Stamford on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. She has not renewed her contract with the city for the position of director of health, the city announced Friday.

Dr. Jennifer Calder, then-director of health for the city of Stamford, in the Government Center in downtown Stamford on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. She has not renewed her contract with the city for the position of director of health, the city announced Friday.

Michael Cummo / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

STAMFORD — Dr. Jennifer Calder, who has headed up Stamford’s Department of Health since 2016, has decided not to renew her contract with the city, according to a statement from Mayor David Martin’s office.

Calder, an epidemiologist and veterinarian, is looking to “pursue other endeavors,” according to Friday’s announcement.

In the statement, Martin said that Calder “courageously led the Department of Health throughout the pandemic, while continuing to manage all of the significant responsibilities of a director of health.”

Ted Jankowski, the city’s director of public safety, health and welfare, added that during her tenure, Calder restructured the health department to “provide more efficient health services for the Stamford community.”

Martin has tapped Jody Bishop-Pullan to serve as acting director of health.

The staffing change comes as the state of Connecticut is seeing “substantial” COVID-19 transmission, and residents are advised to resume wearing masks in indoor public places under the new guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fairfield, Windham and Tolland counties were added Friday to the list of areas with more than 50 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. The list already included New Haven, New London and Hartford counties.

Press releases from Martin’s office have referred to Bishop-Pullan as the acting director since at least mid-June, but several requests from The Stamford Advocate for an explanation were not answered.

Bishop-Pullan has more than 40 years of experience in public health, according to Friday’s statement. She has a master’s degree in the subject from Southern Connecticut State University. She also once served as the chairperson of the Norwalk Board of Education.

“Jody has the precise experience and credentials to successfully lead the Department of Health in Stamford,” Martin said. “She has been a key figure in the city’s leadership team during the ongoing public health emergency and will continue doing a tremendous job at keeping our city healthy and safe in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dr. Henry Yoon, a medical adviser to the city, is supporting Bishop-Pullan amid the pandemic, the release said.