John Gwinn, PhD, MPH, President, Kent City Board of Health, OH
Do you ever think about what it takes to build the relationships needed to sustain an Academic Health Department (AHD)? Or perhaps you work in an AHD and see characteristics in your colleagues that make them successful in their jobs? If so, we could use your help.
The Board of Health for our small city will soon advertise for a new health officer. Our present health officer, who is retiring, not only effectively administers the department but also spends 40% of his time on various inspections and enforcements. In the not distant future we may have the opportunity to become an AHD working with a major university. We think we need someone to lead our health department who can not only walk on water but also fly.
As we advertise and interview candidates, what types of credentials, characteristics and experiences are most likely to be important to identify someone who is grounded enough to run a small health department and has the skills to guide and develop it into an AHD? Are there specific responsibilities for a health officer in an AHD that we should consider when reviewing qualifications? What kinds of resources and professional growth opportunities would such an individual need to be successful and to ensure the success of the AHD?
We would welcome your advice or thoughts on this timely issue. The answers to such questions will not only assist our health department but also help to strengthen our collective knowledge around issues of recruitment and retention within public health.
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