WENATCHEE — Five new members were named to the Chelan-Douglas Health District Board on Monday.
In a unanimous agreement, six commissioners of Chelan and Douglas counties concluded their 4-month-long search and selected:
- Marissa Smith, registered nurse and an infection preventionist at Columbia Valley Community Health.
- Dr. Bindu Nayak, Confluence Health endocrinologist and co-chair of the Confluence Health Equity, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.
- Alma Chacón, co-founder of CAFÉ
- Bill Sullivan, owner of American Land and Water Consulting, and a licensed hydrogeologist.
- Joseph Hunter, Recovery coach network manager at the North Central Accountable Community of Health
The selection followed interviews of 10 finalists that included the full board of health last week.
House Bill 1152 was signed into law in May after the COVID-19 pandemic had stretched the limited resources at both local and state departments of health across the state.
The new state law is meant to improve the diversity of board of health across the state by including health experts and minorities. A dual-county health district like the Chelan-Douglas Health District must have an equal number of non-elected individuals and elected officials.
The board of health decided to increase the size of its board from eight to twelve. The new board is composed of six elected representatives, four county commissioners and two city representatives, and another six non-elected members.
As Chelan County contains some Indian trust lands, one of the non-elected member positions has to be a tribal representative selected by the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State.
The five new members will serve on the board for 3-year staggered terms, ending in 2023 or 2025, based on the position. Board members who serve until 2023 will be eligible to serve an additional three-year term.
Thirty-four residents of Chelan and Douglas counties applied, with 10 finalists selected on Jan. 21 by a board of health subcommittee. The board of health then interviewed each of the finalists on March 21.
By state law, county commissioners had to make the final decision regarding the appointment to the board.
The five candidate who were not selected will serve as alternates on the board and are invited to attend the monthly meetings to provide input without having a vote.
- Michael Peterson, toxicologist and public health scientist. He is the alternate for Smith.
- Dr. Kristen Hosey, Wenatchee Valley College nursing faculty. She is an alternate for Nayak.
- Carin Smith, retired veterinarian. She is an alternate for Chacón.
- Dan Moody, Wenatchee Confluence Rotary Club vice-president. He is an alternate for Sullivan.
- Maria Hansen, retired board clerk for the Link Transit Board. She is an alternate for Hunter.
"Any of the 10 candidates I think would be capable of sitting on a board and doing a fantastic job," said Kevin Overbay, Chelan County commissioner and chair of the health board. "Being able to draw upon the expertise of each one of these diverse individuals, I think is gonna make us the most robust health district in the state."
The new members and alternates officially begin their duties June 1. Commissioners discussed wanting to have this first meeting take place in-person.
According to the new board structure, a small and large city representative would sit on the board for a 3-year-term as well. East Wenatchee Mayor Jerrilea Crawford will be selected to fill in the seat of the large city representative. The small city representative will then come from Chelan County, but the choice has not been made, Overbay said. Mayors in Chelan County have until May 1 to let the commissioners know who they would like to select as the small city representative.
As Chelan County contains some Indian trust lands, one of the non-elected member positions has to be a tribal representative selected by the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State. A letter requesting that an appointment be made for the board has been sent out already, according to Overbay.