KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dr. Martha Buchanan resigned Thursday afternoon from her position as the senior director of the Knox County Health Department. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon released a statement on her resignation.

“I understand Dr. Buchanan’s decision and wish her the best but was surprised to receive her resignation today. I respect the work she’s done in the name of public health – during the pandemic and well before it. She is highly regarded in the medical community, by health department staff, and by me.

“We are fortunate she has served Knox County for as long as she has. Her job is a high-pressure job that has become even more stressful due to COVID-19, and I admire what she’s done in such a difficult year.

“Dr. Buchanan will continue serving Knox County as the local public health officer until the end of December, and we look forward to working with her until then.”

Kincannon called Buchanan a strong leader who has “earned our gratitude and respect.”

“I regret to hear that Dr. Martha Buchanan has decided to resign this fall from the position of senior director of the Knox County Health Department,” Kincannon said. “She’s been a strong leader, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The people of Knoxville have benefited greatly from her knowledge and courage. She has earned our gratitude and respect.”

Buchanan also released a statement following her decision to resign.

“It has been my honor to serve with the Health Department team in service of the Knox County community these past 17 years. The excellence, expertise, and dedication they demonstrate every day is beyond comparison. I am incredibly proud of the work we have done together to improve health in Knox County.

“However, I believe it is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life.”