New county health commissioner named

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick Chris Cook recently took the helm as Madison County’s health commissioner.
Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Chris Cook recently took the helm as Madison County’s health commissioner.

(Posted Oct. 20, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Madison County’s new health commissioner is excited about both the present and future of the Madison County-London City Health District.

Chris Cook took the helm Sept. 26, following the retirement of Mary Ann Webb, who served as health commissioner for eight years.

“I’m getting to know the staff. We really have a good group of people,” he said.

Cook comes to the county job at a time when the health district is taking its first steps toward accreditation. The process is designed to enhance services and increase efficiency in delivery of those services. The Public Health Accreditation Board sets the standards.

“Our goal is to get there by 2020,” Cook said, noting that with accreditation, the health district will be eligible for more nationwide grants.

He also arrives on the scene as the health district prepares to set community health improvement priorities for the next three years. Priorities are informed by data collected during a triennial needs assessment survey. Over the last three years, the focus was on improved access to care and promotion of mental health services, smoking cessation resources, and healthy lifestyle choices.

Cook has accumulated several years of experience in both the private and public health fields, most recently as CEO of Rocking Horse Community Health Center, which opened a location in London last year. His previous experience includes 12 years with the Miami County Health Department.

While with Miami County, Cook oversaw mass H1N1 influenza vaccination clinics as director of emergency response. He later served as the county’s health commissioner for three years. During that time, he was active in the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners.

“I want to be involved with the association again,” he said. “A lot of what happens in public health starts at the state level. Policies are born there and filter out to the local health departments.”

Cook and his wife, Jill, live in Springfield and have twin 5-year-old daughters, Preslee and Kennedi. Jill teaches kindergarten at Northridge Elementary in the Northeastern Local School District.

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