State Associations of County and City Health Officials (SACCHO)

State Associations of County and City Health Officials (SACCHOs) are organizations that represent local health departments or officials at the state level. Some SACCHOs are an office in the state’s department of health; many are informal organizations run by volunteers.

NACCHO collaborates with SACCHOs on many projects, including joint meetings, membership initiatives, education and training, and national advocacy for local public health. SACCHOs also work with state departments of health and other state and national public health organizations.

SACCHO membership complements NACCHO membership and provides a vital link between local and national public health. With 38 SACCHOs affiliated with NACCHO, public health professionals can become visibly engaged members of a local SACCHO while developing new contacts and increasing knowledge. Learn more by contacting NACCHO’s membership department at membership@naccho.org.

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Theresa (Tracy) Anselmo has 15 years of experience in public health, and over 25 years in the dental field. In addition to her licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist, she is master’s prepared in public health, and has worked in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials (CALPHO), Tracy was Executive Director of Partnership for the Children of San Luis Obispo, the Oral Health Program Manager for the County of San Luis Obispo, and the Dental Director for the State of Colorado where she had a variety of responsibilities including planning, implementing and evaluating strategic initiatives and policy development.

Susan Bockrath is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD) where she applies her experience in public health, education, project management, evaluation, and health literacy to amplifying local health departments’ efforts to make “the good life” a healthy one for all Nebraskans. Since being hired in 2013, Susan has overseen a ten-fold growth in NALHD’s scope of work and budget. NALHDs’ work today includes broad efforts to 1) support health departments in their roles as regional health strategist, 2) advocate for local public health, and 3) promote whole community wellbeing. Susan holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health (1998) and is a Certified Public Health Education Specialist.

Jamie Bodden has been the Managing Director for the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials (WSALPHO) since 2017. Before working for WSALPHO, Jaime was the Director for a small health department in rural Wisconsin. Jaime earned BA degrees in Anthropology and Women’s Studies from Marquette University and her Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. In her role with WSALPHO, she works to elevate local public health’s role in making Washington State a safe, health, and vibrant place though advocacy, systems collaboration, and partnerships.

Morgan Cowling has been the Coalition of Local Health Official's (CLHO) Executive Director since 2010. Before working for CLHO, Morgan was the Health and Human Services Policy Manager at the Association of Oregon Counties where she worked for County Commissioners in the areas of mental health, public health, seniors and children and families. Morgan, a native of Oregon, earned her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Oregon and her Masters of Public Administration from New York University. Morgan has over a decade of policy and legislative experience working to make a healthier, more livable Oregon. Go Ducks!

Kat DeBurgh has been working with Health Officers Association of California (HOAC) since 2005. She earned her undergraduate degree in politics from U.C. Santa Cruz in 2000. With assistance from the HOAC Board of Directors, in 2011, she earned her Master's in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was inducted into the Delta Omega Honors Society for Public Health. Kat was trained by former executive director Bruce Pomer over a three year transition period. She was appointed executive director of HOAC on October 1, 2014.

Michelle Gibbons is the Executive Director of the County Health Executives Association of California (CHEAC). Prior to her role at CHEAC, Ms. Gibbons served as the health and human services legislative analyst with the California State Association of Counties. Ms. Gibbons also served in various capacities within the California Department of Health Care Services, working on Section 1115 Waiver financing and Realignment activities. CHEAC is a statewide organization of local Health Department and Agency Directors, who are responsible for the administration, oversight and delivery of a broad range of local public health and indigent health care services.

Diana Gomez is the Chief Health Officer for Yuma County Public Health Services District. She has worked in public health for over 25 years and has served on various local, state, and national committees and workgroups to build and sustain collaborative partnerships that promote safe, healthy, and resilient communities. She is a member of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security Regional Advisory Council, past president of the Arizona Local Health Officer Association and is co-president of the Binational Health and Environmental Council. She has an interest in community-health research and policy development and actively mentors students interested in public health career.

Jake Hanson is the Executive Administrator for the California Conference of Local Health Officers (CCLHO) at the California Department of Public Heath (CDPH) and served in this position since 2018. CCLHO provides a state/local forum for the discussion of significant health issues in order to develop recommendations for appropriate health policy, including legislative and regulatory review. Jake has been with CDPH since 2016 and prior to his current position has worked in multiple capacities in program and policy for the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch's (NEOPB). Prior to his state service, he worked as an entrepreneur serving as the President and CEO of a community-based organization offering nutrition consulting, physical activity services, and family wellness services. Jake also served as a First 5 Commissioner for Placer County, which focused on four strategic areas: Maternal and Child Health, Child Abuse Prevention, Oral Health, and Early Childhood Literacy. Jake has Master's in Public Health from the San Jose State University, is a Certified Health Education Specialist, and is a Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist.

Sami Jarrah founded and co-chairs the Pennsylvania Health Policy Coalition, the state’s SACCHO. He has served as the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Chief Operating Officer since 2016. In this role, Jarrah serves as a Deputy Commissioner and leads the agency’s state and federal policy, finance, budget, contracts, grants, and information technology functions. Before joining the City of Philadelphia, Jarrah served as Deputy Director for Integrated Clinical Services at the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, OR. Jarrah earned his undergraduate degree from Davidson College and his MPH from the University of Washington, and is pursuing a doctoral public health degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Deb Koester is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Health at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall Health/Marshall University and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, West Virginia Local Health, Inc. (WVLHI). In this role she works closely with all 48 local health departments in West Virginia and coordinates the West Virginia Association of Local Health Departments (WVALHD) as well as the Harm Reduction Coalition of West Virginia. Her background includes a PhD in public health and Doctorate of Nursing Practice in community health. Dr. Koester previously served as a contractor to the CDC Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS) and as Population Health Initiatives Program Manager for Purdue University’s Healthcare Advisors. She has worked with more than 150 state and local health departments and community coalitions in many states on accreditation readiness, community-based and state level strategic planning and implementation, and community infrastructure building with extensive work in the substance use arena.

Mary Korsmo has served as the Executive Director for the North Dakota State Association of City and County Health Officials (NDSACCHO) since 2014. Mary oversees all aspects of NDSACCHO including operations, management, budget, communication and government relations. Legislative activities include developing local public health priorities with members, monitoring and tracking legislation, as well as preparing, providing and coordinating testimony. Additionally, Mary organizes and implements Public Health Day at the Legislature which is an opportunity for administrators to showcase local public health efforts with North Dakota legislators.

Dennis Kriesel became Executive Director of the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments (KALHD) in March 2019. He is responsible for day-to-day operations of the association, advocating for local health departments before the Kansas legislature, and representing local interests to the state health agency and others. Prior to joining KALHD, Mr. Kriesel was with the Kansas Association of Counties, starting in 2002 as Public Health Policy Fellow and eventually serving as Senior Policy Analyst, Operations & Finance Director, and ultimately Interim Executive Director. Mr. Kriesel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas and a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University.

Melissa Lyon is the Public Health Director for Erie County (PA) Department of Health. She has been serving as the Director since 2014. She earned her Master’s in Public Health from Kaplan University while working full-time as the Site Manager for an internationally recognized clinical research site, Great Lakes Medical Research, located in Westfield, New York. Her undergraduate work was completed in 1995 at the SUNY at Fredonia. There she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Melissa became certified in public health in 2019. She has over nine years of public health field experience while employed at the Chautauqua County Health Department in New York. She worked in a variety of public health capacities including environmental health and inspections, health promotion and education, public health emergency preparedness, and community collaboration and coalition building. Melissa is also an adjunct faculty at State University of New York at Fredonia, Gannon University and guest lecturer at a number of regional universities. She is an active member of the Health Administration Sector of the American Public Health Association (APHA). She especially enjoys inspiring others to find their passion through education and mentorship.

Ruth Maiorana is the Executive Director for the Maryland Association of County Health Officers (MACHO). MACHO is part of the Public Health Practice & Training Office at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In this capacity, Ruth has oversight of all aspects of MACHO operations, management, budget, assessment and evaluation, and policy implementation. Ruth provides administrative support to MACHO, the current President, and all association Standing and Ad Hoc Committees. As primary legislative staff, she monitors and tracks state and federal legislative sessions on public health issues of interest to MACHO, drafts position papers, and is responsible for coordinating testimony on public health issues supported by MACHO. Ruth has served NACCHO as Chair and member of the Annual Meeting Workgroup, Healthy People and Survive and Thrive Workgroups. She currently serves on the LHD Profile Workgroup.

Amanda Mehl is a registered nurse and has a Master’s Degree in Public Health. Amanda earned her BA from Beloit College, her MPH from the University of Illinois Chicago and her AS in Nursing from Rock Valley College. She has worked in public health for 14 years and currently oversees the operations of the Boone County Health Department (BCHD) in Belvidere, IL as their Public Health Administrator. Over the past two and a half years, Amanda has developed her department as a “teaching health department”, mentoring students from different disciplines at the undergraduate/graduate level. Amanda is also leading her department through PHAB Accreditation and the merging of the County's Comprehensive Plan and Health Department's Community Health Improvement Plan. Amanda has restructured departmental operations to reflect a shift to Public Health 3.0 principles and a population health focus. Amanda serves on several regional and state administrative boards including the Illinois Public Health Association's Executive Council and as president for the Illinois Public Health Nurse Administrators. She has presented at various conferences including the Illinois March of Dimes Perinatal Conference, the Illinois Pubic Health Association Conference, the Public Health 3.0 Workforce Development Forum, the 2019 NACCHO Preparedness Summit and Annual Conference, and the National Public Health Improvement Training (PHIT).

Jamie Michael is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), with over ten years of association management and public health experience. Her previous work was managing a multi-jurisdictional tobacco coalition in Northeast Wisconsin. She currently serves as the Association Director for the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards (WALHDAB) at Badger Bay Management Company. She manages various aspects of membership, communications, governance, and education not only for WALHDAB, but for other public health related clients as well. Jamie received her Bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education and a Minor in Nutrition from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, and resides in Appleton, WI. She is also a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC). She enjoys spending her spare time with her husband, Andy, twin boys, Alex and Ayden, and daughter Hayley.

Kari Oldfield, JD, is the Executive Director for the Local Public Health Association (LPHA) of Minnesota, working with more than 230 leaders from health departments across the state. In her role, Kari works statewide to improve and protect the health of the population of Minnesota by providing leadership and advocacy on behalf of local public health. Prior to her role at LPHA, Kari worked four years in tobacco prevention. Kari received her JD from Hamline University School of Law where she focused on health law and compliance and her BA from Coe College focusing on communications and political science.

Sarah Ravenhall, MHA, CHES assumed the role of Executive Director at New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) in December 2017. With over ten years of experience working in the field of public health, she most recently worked for the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, a hospital membership association, to manage and implement its population health improvement program. This work entailed optimizing program processes, setting strategic program vision, oversight of fiscal management, leading workgroup projects, measuring program impact and increasing program visibility at the national and state level.

Dawn Carmen Sibor is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Officers Association (MHOA), the SACCHO affiliate for Massachusetts. Dawn returned to MHOA in September 2017 after 12 years as the Director of Emergency Preparedness for the Brookline, MA Public Health Department and the Brookline Medical Reserve Corps. In her current capacity, Dawn coordinates training, advocacy and support of the more than 600 MHOA members from the 351 health departments in Massachusetts. She serves on the Coalition for Local Public Health, a statewide organization which comprises the six Massachusetts Public Health organizations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MHOA has been an integral part of the MA response and Dawn has led the way for MHOA. Dawn received her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA and a Masters Degree in Counseling from Northeastern University in Boston. Dawn has worked in the field of public health for more than 25 years.

Jennifer Smith currently serves as the Executive Director of the Texas Association for County and City Health Officials (TACCHO). She has over 42 years of public health experience. Realizing that prevention was the key to a person’s health and well-being, Jennifer joined the Texas Department of Health (now the Texas Department of State Health Services) in 1982 with the goal of educating on preventive health practices to the public at large. During her 27 years there she worked as a dental hygienist, as one of the first Regional HIV Prevention Specialists, and managing worksite wellness and chronic disease prevention and control programs, including ten years as the first Executive Director for the Texas Council on Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke. After retiring from the state health department in 2009, she was the first Chief Public Health Officer for the Texas Association of Local Health Officials (TALHO) until August 2013. She then assisted in developing the Texas Association of City and County Health Officials (TACCHO), served as Executive Director for 5 years, and is now serving as the Interim Executive Director. She has been a 37-year member of the Texas Public Health Association (TPHA), serving as President and receiving the TPHA Honorary Life Member award. Membership in national associations included serving in leadership roles such as a Board Member of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

Diane L. Weber is currently the Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies (MoALPHA). She brings over 30 years’ experience in public health and health education. She served as the Wellness Coordinator for the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis for three years. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Executive Director for the Heartland Centers for Public Health and Community Capacity Development at Saint Louis University. Ms. Weber has facilitated the strategic planning process for local public health agencies and has coordinated the Public Health Leadership Institute. She has developed and implemented curricula for workshops, conferences, and community based health education projects. As MoALPHA’s Executive Director, she advocates for local public health agencies across the state on training, education, legislative, and resource needs.

Buck Wilson, a graduate of USC, is an experienced public health director with 25 years of governmental management and leadership. Driven by the desire to serve the public, Buck currently works for South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). Buck takes pride in providing the best customer service, while providing the most efficient and effective services to the citizens of SC. In addition to his primary job, Buck has served in many leadership roles throughout the community. In 2015, Buck was recognized by his peers as the North Carolina Health Director of the Year. He has served in Kiwanis for 15 years and has been recognized as a top Kiwanian on three separate occasions.

SACCHOs Represent the Grassroots of Local Public Health

Do you want to get to know other professionals in your area and contribute to developing an active, vibrant local public health community? Then consider whether joining a state association of county and city health officials (SACCHO) or forming one in your state would be right for you.SACCHO membership complements NACCHO membership and provides a vital link between local and national public health. The leadership structure of SACCHOs varies widely and allows for numerous involvement options. SACCHO membership may be purchased directly through a local SACCHO. With 38 SACCHOs affiliated with NACCHO, public health professionals can become visibly engaged members of a local SACCHO while developing new contacts and increasing knowledge. Ways to get involved include the following:

  1. Expanding the circle of colleagues and contacts.
  2. Networking at local meetings, luncheons, receptions, and programs.
  3. Exchanging knowledge with local experts.
  4. Stepping into leadership roles.
  5. Advocating for the public health profession.
  6. Learning about professional development and job opportunities in the community.

Is there someone at the decision-making table with local health departments' best interests in mind? Is there a place where local health officials in your state can meet and share ideas or current events? If the answer to these questions is no, then consider forming a SACCHO. SACCHOs are important because (1) local health departments and their staff can work together and organize more effectively to impact public health in the places where they live; (2) local health departments need a voice in decisions that affect the services they provide, and often the best place to maximize opportunities for participation is at the local or state level; and (3) NACCHO needs a strong local base of members to change policies at the state and national levels.

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