New health commissioner on board

Mary Ann Webb is the new health commissioner for the Madison County-London City Health District.

It was by chance that Mary Ann Webb, Madison County’s new health commissioner, found a career in public health.

It was 1984, and her husband had just landed a job as a pharmacist in Ross County. Webb took a minimum-wage job while she tried to find work that utilized her degree in microbiology. When a sanitarian from the local health department visited the couple’s home to test their water, Webb asked if the department was hiring. Several months later, she became a registered sanitarian for the Ross County Health Department. Public health has been her professional home ever since.

Webb’s 24 years of experience includes six years with Ross County, and the remainder at the Highland County Health Department, where she was a sanitarian and later director of environmental health. She started her new job as health commissioner for the Madison County-London City Health District this past month.

When asked what attracted her to the job in Madison County, Webb said, “In 2007, I got my masters degree in public health from OSU. It was during that time that I decided I’d like to become a health commissioner.”

With Dr. James Herman’s retirement this fall, Madison County had an opening. Webb saw it as an opportunity to pursue her goal within reasonable driving distance of her home in Ross County.

“I hope to do as good a job as Dr. Herman did in protecting the health of the residents of Madison County. I know he was well regarded… I have some big shoes to fill,” she said.

Webb’s duties as health commissioner are to direct the health district’s daily operations and supervise support staff. She reports to the Board of Health, which serves as the district’s governing body. Webb admits she is still learning the ropes, but that her years of experience give her a good start.

“I am familiar with the atmosphere and how a health department runs,” she said, adding that Highland County is similar in size and demographics to Madison County, which also helps to ease the transition.

She said she foresees budgeting issues being a prominent part of her workload as funding is cut and expenses go up. Assistance from the folks already on board will be crucial, she said.

“Everyone has been great, here on staff and the people I’ve met out in the county,” she said.

Webb is a native of Columbus. She and her husband, Tom, have lived in Ross County for 27 years. Their daughter, Laura (Kenny) Kruger is an Ohio University graduate, works at the Chillicothe Public Library, and lives near her parents. The Webbs’ son, Tommy, is a senior majoring in photography at The Ohio State Uni-versity. As a percussionist with the OSU marching band, Tommy will perform at the Buckeyes’ Jan. 5 Fiesta Bowl game against the University of Texas and at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

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