Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Council on Thursday voted to appoint San Antonio Metropolitan Health District Medical Director Dr. Junda Woo as local health authority for Bexar and surrounding counties for a two-year term effective Oct. 1.

The local health authority is a State-mandated position tasked with diagnosing, investigating, and monitoring local health hazards and enforce laws and rules that protect community health.

Woo’s appointment comes on the heels of controversy over her previous employment as medical director of Planned Parenthood South Texas. Members of the pro-family and anti-abortion San Antonio Family Association, who labeled her an “abortionist” in a Tuesday email sent to organization supporters, questioned her public health priorities.

The organization was the force behind Woo’s 2015 appointment to the position being rescinded by then-Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Council.

City Council heard feedback regarding Woo’s appointment at Citizens to be Heard on Wednesday, where those is opposition echoed Family Association President Patrick Von Dohlen, who told the Rivard Report that “the City of San Antonio has no business employing an abortionist who has the past that she has when there are plenty of other people who can serve in that capacity.”

While several people were signed up to address City Council regarding Woo’s appointment on Thursday, none were present in the Council chambers when called to speak.

City Council approved Woo’s appointment in less than 10 minutes.

Metro Health Director Colleen Bridger told City Council on Thursday that the duties of local health authority would be added to Woo’s existing role as medical director, and would include completing medical reports and communicating directly with the Department of State Health Services regarding public health concerns in San Antonio.

“She is the best person for the job,” Bridger said.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.