Board of Health adds new members

The Grays Harbor County Board of Health is expanding. Four new members were selected on Wednesday, June 22, at a special meeting of the board — bringing the board to seven total members.

The expansion is to comply with new mandates by the Washington state Legislature that counties must have a seven-person board that meets quarterly. This includes three county commissioners, who are existing board members, three nonelected members, and a tribal representative.

The nonelected members must include health care professionals and community members, who engage with public health. The tribal representative must be appointed by the American Indian Health Commission. The mandate went into effect on July 1, 2022.

The Grays Harbor County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution on May 17 to expand the board from three elected members to add the four nonelected positions.

“We are very excited to welcome our new members to the Grays Harbor County Board of Health,” said Grays Harbor County Public Health Director Mike McNickle in a statement. “The new perspectives, energy and vision they bring will help us move forward with innovative initiatives that will help improve the health of all Grays Harbor County residents.”

The new members of the board were appointed to fill the following roles:

Consumer of public health: Char Hood of Aberdeen. Will serve a two-year term.

Other community stakeholder: Chris Olive of Aberdeen. Will serve a one-year term.

Public health, health care facilities, provider: Dr. Kenneth Dietrich of Oakville. Will serve a two-year term.

Tribal representative: Chrissy Winn of Taholah. Will serve a three-year term.

“I think that we will have a really good, diversified board moving forward,” said Commissioner Vickie Raines at the June 22 meeting.

The county board of health is responsible for enforcing state public health statutes and enacts rules and regulations to preserve and improve local public health, among other responsibilities.

Candidates for the three non-tribal positions were selected from a pool of applicants accepted by the board over the last month. Experience, commitment to public health, and representation of various local communities were among the qualities used to evaluate the candidates.

The new members will take their seats on the board at the quarterly meeting on July 28.