Native Retired Physician Employed as Lewis County Health Officer

By Isabel Vander Stoep  / isabel@chronline.com

Lewis County has a brand new well being officer in retired pediatrician Dr. Joseph Wiley.

The county Board of Health, which consists of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), held a particular assembly on May 24 to interview candidates to the place.

Drs. Steven Krager and Alan Melnick, who work collectively as well being officers for a number of different Southwest Washington counties, had been fired by the BOCC earlier this yr.

“When we hired Dr. Melnick and Krager we hired (them) as a regional health officer and I objected to it, in part, because I wanted to find a local health officer, that was the intent,” Commissioner Sean Swope mentioned. “Early on, I was told health officers don’t grow on trees they are hard to come by.”

Swope was the one to kick off dialogue of terminating the duo’s contract in March. Both he and Commissioner Lee Grose finally voted for ending the contract, citing hopes of getting somebody native within the place.

Krager and Melnick re-applied for the open place as a bundle deal even after these occasions transpired. Another applicant, Dr. Michael Strohbach withdrew his identify from the hat earlier than the BOCC interview course of, leaving Wiley as the one candidate for the place who had not been fired from it beforehand.

Swope mentioned he thought Wiley and Strohbach knew one another and had mentioned it and determined Wiley was greatest fitted to the job, and prompt Strohbach could also be keen to help Wiley sometimes.

Wiley couldn’t be reached by The Chronicle for remark, however receptionists with Providence Centralia Hospital and Northwest Pediatrics Center confirmed he used to work at Northwest Pediatrics and just lately retired. He additionally sometimes delivers infants at Providence Centralia.

The draft request for purposes for the place was put collectively first by the Lewis County Public Health & Social Services (LCPHSS) Advisory Board.

When it was being reviewed by the BOCC, Commissioner Lindsey Pollock talked about she would love one of many {qualifications} to be a data of zoonotic illnesses — illnesses transmitted between people and animals.

“And population medicine, which is very different from individual medicine which is what most physicians are trained in and practice daily,” Pollock instructed The Chronicle this week.

Asked her emotions on working with somebody with out the general public well being background she hoped for, she mentioned she was hopeful Wiley would pursue the coaching wanted for the place.

LCPHSS Advisory Board Chair Jami Lund was not conscious of the board’s selection for the well being officer place as of Wednesday night time, as Wiley’s contract with the county had not but been finalized.

Before interviews with the Board of Health, all candidates had been first reviewed by the advisory board, which suggested the re-hiring of Melnick and Krager after the crew scored the best on a rubric. The different two candidates had been native physicians, assembly the will of Swope and Grose.

However, the advisory board’s letter thought-about Krager and Melnick’s expertise in Lewis County as time invested into understanding the group alongside their background as public well being officers.

It additionally famous that coaching the opposite two candidates for the technical features of the job could be time-consuming, even when they already had established relationships throughout the group. The letter famous that, finally, the job prioritizing the totally different {qualifications} falls to the Board of Health.

“I have 100 emails from people that know Dr. Wiley,” Swope mentioned. “One of the things that really resonated with me with him was he just really wants to serve our community. … People have trust in him.”



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