Douglas County Board of Health begins search for new director

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 4:59 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Douglas County Board of Health is wasting no time looking for the county’s new health director.

Selecting a health director for any place in the country during this pandemic would be a very important task. That’s what lies before Douglas County officials today after Dr. Adi Pour, 69, announced she was retiring from her position as the county health director.

“I plan to retire in June,” she told the board at its meeting Wednesday morning. “I thought about this a lot over the past year, what is the right time.”

Pour has been head of the Douglas County Health Department for close to 20 years, leading the community through everything from flu outbreaks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every leader should recognize when they should leave, and leave it on to the next generation,” she said. “And I think all of this together this was the right time.”

She said she plans to retire at the end of June.

“Because of my age, I think, I had a lot of thoughts about when is the right time,” Pour said. “So last year, actually, I gave myself about two weeks, and I said I really need to start thinking about when is the right time. So that’s when I made the decision in June — the middle of the summer — it is the right time.”

Douglas County officials said her decision did not come as a surprise.

“We kind of started talking about this about three years ago, just seeing where she may have been,” said Chris Rodgers, president of the Douglas County Board of Health. “She wasn’t there yet, so each year after the job evaluation, you know, I wouldn’t ask, but I would get a feel.”

Rodgers said the board has set up a search committee that includes many members of the medical community:

  • Chris Rodgers, Douglas County Board of Health president
  • Jeanee Weiss, Douglas County Board of Health member
  • Dr. Marlene Wilken, Douglas County Board of Health member
  • Selene Espinoza, Douglas County Board of Health member
  • Jeff Prochazka, chief strategy officer of Methodist Health System
  • Dr. Cheryl Logan, Omaha Public Schools superintendent
  • Dr. Maureen Tierney, chairwoman of the Department of Clinical Research and assistant dean for the College of Public Health at Creighton University School of Medicine
  • Chanda Chacon, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center
  • Dr. David Palm, associate professor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health

Rodgers said the search committee will look locally and nationwide to find the next health director. Officials plan to post the job and its requirements sometime next week, he said.

Once finalists have been named, the public will have a voice in the process.

“We will open it up to the public. The interviews will be on Zoom — things of that sort,” he said. “And then at some point, we don’t know the logistics, but we’re going to try to have two community meetings.”

Pour said she plans to travel and spend more time with her family but that she also has plans to still serve the community.

“Potentially provide some more volunteer work in this community, because this is my community, and I feel I still have a lot in me to give back,” she said.

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