Lewis County’s Search for New Health Officer Begins


After the recent firing of former health officers Steven Krager and Alan Melnick, who were based out of Clark County, the Lewis County Board of Health (BOH) is kicking off its search for a new health officer, preferably one who can be more integrated into the local community.

The application was drafted by volunteers on the Public Health & Social Services Advisory Board and presented to the BOH and Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Tuesday morning for approval.

Health officers serve as the chief medical officer for the county under direction from the BOH.

According to a news release from the county, the ideal candidate would possess thorough knowledge of and experience with epidemiology, disease control and clinical aspects of conditions of public health importance. They would also have a working knowledge of public health programs, policies, laws and regulations.

Applicants should be a doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy degree and a master’s degree in public health or its equivalent. Residents of Lewis County are preferred.

In the past, the position has been capped at eight hours per week. However, per the request for qualifications, the applicant should outline their own estimate for the number of hours per week needed to fulfill the requirements of the position along with their desired hourly pay rate.

“I think some flexibility (with hours), depending on the experience of the selected candidate, would make sense,” Public Health Director JP Anderson told the commissioners Tuesday.

The only significant discussion on the application from the BOCC and BOH — which are both composed of the three Lewis County Commissioners — came from Commissioner Lindsey Pollock, who asked that one qualification be added.

“An addition I would like to see there is experience and knowledge with zoonotic diseases, because those are anticipated to be an ongoing, increasing threat in the future,” Pollock, a veterinarian, said. “Also, as a member of the veterinary community here, I know that I have to interact with the health officer. We have reportable diseases that affect humans.”

Pollock noted an instance in the county where a daycare was built on a former pig farm and the children had to be treated for roundworm infections.

“This is a critical position to the overall public health of Lewis County,” Anderson said in the news release. “The variety of ways that the health officer impacts the Public Health staff, local healthcare provider, and the Lewis County residents as a whole, make finding the right person for this position a very important task.”

Qualified applicants seeking the position need to submit their application to boh@lewiscountywa.gov by 5 p.m. Friday, April 22. Questions should be sent to the same email by 5 p.m. on April 19.

Full details regarding the scope of services and the work, time, proposal and qualification requirements for the position, can all be found in the full application at https://lewiscountywa.gov/media/documents/Lewis_Health_Officer_RFQ_Final.pdf.