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Seven members named to new La Plata County well being board – The Durango Herald

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These chosen come from a variety of backgrounds

La Plata County commissioners have appointed seven folks to the board of well being that can govern the brand new La Plata County Public Well being division. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

La Plata County Board of County Commissioners took the subsequent main step in establishing its personal public well being division Tuesday when it authorized two resolutions, one making a board of well being and one other naming seven members to that board. Its membership consists of a variety of consultants in public well being coverage, well being care, biology and environmental well being.

“It has been a protracted haul right here from again in April of 2022 when the (San Juan Basin) Board of Well being made the advice to dissolve,” mentioned Commissioner Marsha Porter-Norton earlier than the vote. “… That is fairly a milestone second.”

Archuleta and La Plata county commissioners voted in November to dissolve San Juan Basin Public Well being, the division that has served the 2 counties for 74 years. Tensions had risen all through the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted philosophical variations between the constituencies of the 2 counties with respect to public well being providers and needed restrictions.

The brand new board will serve in an organizational capability till the dissolution takes impact Dec. 31.

Commissioners interviewed 15 of the 31 candidates they acquired seeking people who introduced a broad vary of expertise in well being, coverage and governance, amongst different elements. Though phrases will likely be 5 years in size going ahead, the BoCC staggered the time period lengths of the preliminary appointments so as to set up continuity going ahead.

Dr. Cecil Fraley, CEO of Pediatric Companions of the Southwest, will serve a full five-year time period.

Douglas McCarthy, president of Points Analysis Inc. and interim government director of the Native First Basis, a well being care coverage knowledgeable, will serve a four-year time period together with Avery Perryman Sheldon, who’s a speech pathologist, in accordance with his biography on the Durango Operating Membership web site.

Teresa Wright, a registered nurse who holds a grasp’s diploma in public well being, will serve a three-year time period.

Michael Murphy, a managing principal on the consulting agency Durango Well being Companions and former interim CEO of Centura Mercy Regional Medical Heart, will serve a two-year time period; Shere Byrd, a professor of biology at Fort Lewis Faculty and member of the SJBPH Board of Well being, will serve on the board for 2 years. She is the one member of the board to whom she is going to serve concurrently on the SJBPH board earlier than it’s dissolved.

Wendy Rice, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, will serve on the board for one 12 months.

Byrd, who has served on the SJBPH board for 12 years, mentioned her work with the soon-to-be dissolved division will present some familiarity and a way of continuity because the county stands up its personal division.

“Having one boss as an alternative of two bosses will make it simpler each for the board and for the individuals who truly ship providers as a result of there are some variations in opinion about providers that every county wished to have,” she mentioned.

Byrd mentioned she appears ahead to additional educating the general public on what public well being is and unleashing the complete potential of the division, which she mentioned has not been completely utilized due to battle with Archuleta County.

McCarthy mentioned he, too, appears ahead to uplifting the function of public well being in the neighborhood.

“Many of the features in life expectancy over the previous century have come by way of public well being they usually’ve been added to by well being care, and but, well being care will get the vast majority of our consideration and our cash and our spending,” he mentioned. “What I’ll attempt to deliver is a perspective of how these two sectors – well being care and public well being – have a possibility to work collectively to attain a lot better good and synergistically, which was actually highlighted throughout COVID.”

Each McCarthy and Wright nodded towards a rising pattern within the public well being sphere when discussing the job forward of them: growing skepticism of fact-based science.

“I feel we have all realized quite a bit the previous few years (about) the entire idea of messaging and listening, actually deeply listening and attempting to return to frequent floor and appreciating totally different viewpoints,” Wright mentioned.

She inspired La Plata County residents to fill out the neighborhood well being evaluation survey in order that the board has ample neighborhood enter with which to tell different knowledge sources because the members look to creating neighborhood well being applications.

Wright additionally highlighted the rising want to include methods to handle the local weather disaster in public well being applications.

“It will be simply fascinating to know that we may be extra proactive versus reactive,” she mentioned.

Members will meet on a month-to-month or biweekly foundation over the subsequent 12 months to prepare workers, sources and infrastructure in order that La Plata County Public Well being is ready to imagine duty of the county’s public well being wants on Jan. 1, 2024.

rschafir@durangoherald.com

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