Health board grows from eight to twelve members

information released

On Monday, Chelan and Douglas county commissioners reached a consensus on the five people who will serve as the at-large members of the newly revamped Chelan-Douglas Board of Health. County commissioners are tasked with appointing at-large members to the Chelan-Douglas Health District’s Board of Health. The two county boards were in full agreement on the final five candidates, who were chosen from a pool of 10.

The new board members, who will begin their terms on June 1, are:

• Dr. Bindu Nayak (public health facility): Dr. Nayak is an endocrinologist at Confluence Health and co-founder and co-chairman of the Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council at the hospital.

• Marissa Smith (public health facility): A registered nurse, Smith works as an infection preventionist at Columbia Valley Community Health.

• Alma Chacon (community stakeholder): Chacon is the executive director of CAFÉ, with more than 30 years of experience working with underrepresented communities in the region.

• Bill Sullivan (community stakeholder): Sullivan is a licensed hydrogeologist with 17 years of environmental health experience in groundwater, wells, drinking water, infiltration and groundwater quality.

• Joseph Hunter (consumer of public health services): A certified recovery coach and peer counselor, Hunter spent 20 years in active addiction, using community resources to reach sobriety. He works for North Central Accountable Community of Health.

In addition, the five other candidates who were not chosen to serve on the health board will be asked to serve in alternate positions to each of the new at-large members. The two counties updated the bylaws of the health board last month to include the alternate positions, which may be appointed to the health board if someone cannot fulfill a term.

“The new at-large positions, along with the alternates, will make us one of the most robust health districts in the state for years to come,” said Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay, who is chairman of the health board.

“The depth and breadth of representation for the valley is outstanding,” agreed Douglas County Commissioner Dan Sutton. “And they all are seeking the position for the right reason – to better our community.”

Next the two county boards must individually pass a resolution appointing the five members to the health board. Both county boards are expected to do that next week.

The new health board will grow from eight to 12 members, including four county commissioners (two from each county), a small cities representative, a large cities representative and six at-large community members.

Representing Douglas County will be Commissioners Sutton and Marc Straub. Representing Chelan County will be Commissioners Overbay and Tiffany Gering. Representing the large cities will be East Wenatchee Mayor Jerrilea Crawford.

That leaves two positions left to fill. The mayors of the small cities in Chelan County have been asked to provide a recommendation by May 1. An additional at-large board member will be appointed by the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State. That selection has not yet been made by the state.

The restructuring of the Health Board comes at the direction of the state Legislature. Legislators last year passed House Bill 1152, which modifies the composition of local health boards throughout the state. The bill creates comprehensive guidelines for health districts to follow and requires them to balance governing boards with non-elected officials. County commissioners followed the following process:

• In December, the health district called for applications for the at-large seats. The search garnered 34 names of community members who volunteered to serve on the board.

• On Jan. 21, a subcommittee of the current CDHD Health Board reviewed those applications and narrowed them down to 10.

• On March 14, the two county boards had an interview process with the 10 candidates via Zoom. All candidates answered four questions that were provided to them before the interview.