BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — After a decade, Dr. Mark Wilson will be stepping down from his role as the top health officer in Jefferson County.

Wilson, who has led the Jefferson County Department of Health since 2011, announced his plans to retire during the Birmingham City Council’s meeting Tuesday morning. His last day will be Friday, after which he will be replaced by Dr. David Hicks.

“If you want to do good and you happen to have a medical degree, it’s probably the best job in the state,” Wilson said during the meeting.

Wilson became a more public face in the community during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving updates on the virus in Jefferson County, as well as what people could do to better protect themselves from it. During that time, he co-led the Jefferson County Unified Command pandemic response.

Prior to his time as health officer of Jefferson County, Wilson was an internist at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital from 1991 to 2011. From 2008 to to 2011, he was chief of staff at the hospital.

Wilson said he had been thinking about retiring for a while. To him, 10 years was more than enough time to lead an organization. However, with the COVId-19 pandemic, he wanted to make sure the department would be able to see its way through.

“There’s been a lot of love from the community, but the pandemic was rough,” he said. “It took a lot out of me, but I’ve mostly recovered from it.”

Wilson said he was happy to contribute to the department becoming more visible in the community, as well as partnering with many local organizations to help people. He hopes that will continue on after he’s gone, as well as making sure the health department is sustainable moving forward.

“Part of our plan is not so much topical, but really more about making sure the health department and its workforce are in a position to handle anything that comes up, like pandemics or unforeseen issues,” he said.

Wilson said that while he’s not entirely ready to leave the medical field yet, he wants to be able to spend more time with his family, including his granddaughter, who will be born in the next few months.

“I still have a lot in me that I can give,” he said.