OKLAHOMA CITY (May 22, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the selection of Colonel Lance Frye, M.D., as the interim Oklahoma Commissioner of Health. Col. Frye will begin leading the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) as interim commissioner effective immediately.
“Col. Frye is a proven leader and highly qualified medical expert who has faithfully served our country and state with a focus on the health of those around him for over 25 years,” said Gov. Stitt. “As a respected health care professional who has vast experience operating under pressure, I have full faith in his ability to continue upon the momentum we have seen OSDH undergo over the past eight months and lead this critical agency as we respond to the worst pandemic in a century.”
“Thank you Governor Stitt and Secretary Loughridge for trusting me to serve in this role at such a critical time in our State’s history,” said Col. Frye. “Governor Stitt has said his number one goal is to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans, and that is a mission I am honored to carry out. We are all in this together, and I am confident we will continue the great progress we have made in our fight against COVID-19.”
Frye currently serves as the interim department chair, residency program director and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, and State Air Surgeon for the Oklahoma Air National Guard (OKANG).
As State Air Surgeon, Frye is the OKANG senior medical officer and adviser to The Adjutant General (TAG) of Oklahoma for all OKANG medical issues.
He entered the United States Air Force in 2005 after receiving his commission through the Officer Training Corps. Upon completion of Commissioned Officer Training he attended Aerospace Medicine training at Brooks AFB where he was recognized as the Honor Graduate. He entered active duty Air Force as a flight surgeon at Nellis AFB. He then transitioned to the Air National Guard, moving to Tulsa in 2010.
Frye received his Doctorate in Medicine from Loma Linda University, School of Medicine, Loma Linda, California, in 1993. He completed an internship in Family Medicine in 1994 and a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1997. Frye completed additional training in Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery at The University of California in 1998.
After practicing medicine for several years, Frye’s desire to serve his country led him to join the Air Force in 2005.
He has deployed in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. He has served in multiple areas of expertise in deployed environments including flight surgeon at a contingency aeromedical staging facility (CASF), a gynecologic surgeon, combat search and rescue (CSAR) and casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) in the highest threat environment of Afghanistan in spring 2008.
“Having served directly alongside Col. Frye for the last two months of our coordinated COVID-19 response, I can definitively say he evinces all of the character, experience and get-it-done attitude that we need to lead our Department of Health. I have no doubt he will bring his experience as a servant-leader to bear in vital ways as he provides guidance to one of our State’s most important agencies and works toward the objective of helping all Oklahomans flourish.” – Jerome Loughridge, Secretary of Health and Mental Health
“Col. Frye is an outstanding Airmen. He has always looked out for the best interest of those he serves with, and I am sure he will do the same in his new role as interim Commissioner of Health at OSDH.” – Major General Michael Thompson, The Adjutant General for Oklahoma
The Oklahoma State Department of Health, through its system of local health services delivery, is responsible for protecting and improving public health with strategies that focus on preventing disease. Five major service branches - Community Health, Family Health Services, Prevention and Preparedness, Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and Protective Health Services - provide technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The mission of the OSDH is to protect and promote health, to prevent disease and injury, and to cultivate conditions by which Oklahomans can be healthy.