Gov. Terry Branstad announced the resignation of Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks Thursday.
Miller-Meeks, a Republican, has served as the agency`s director since Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds took office.
She previously ran twice unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District.
She says she will explore other opportunities outside state government after her resignation goes into effect on January 17.
“As director I think that one`s complete focus and attention should be on their job and on their duties and in order to explore the other opportunities I felt that it was best I resign,” Miller-Meeks told Channel 13.
Governor Branstad praised her work on health in Iowa.
“Mariannette has been a champion of health in Iowa, including working to promote our Healthiest Sate Initiative. Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I thank her for her service to the people of Iowa,” Branstad said.
However, Miller-Meeks stirred controversy when she falsely claimed that Mountain Dew was the most purchased item by food stamps.
Democrats say they blame the governor for mismanaging the state. “Governor Branstad is not managing the state well and Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks is just another example of that,” Executive Director of the Iowa Democratic Party, Troy Price said.