Boulder County Public Health on Tuesday appointed the first Latina to lead the department as its new executive director.
BCPH announced Camille Rodriguez will step into the role June 7. There were more than 60 applicants for the position and two finalists, BCPH spokeswoman Angela Simental told the Daily Camera in an email.
Rodriguez has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, a master’s degree in health administration as well as in health law, according to a BCPH news release.
Most recently, she served as a county administrator in McLean County, Ill., the release said. She also served as administrator for the McLean County Health Department and served in other positions for the state of Wisconsin and the state of Illinois.
Lexi Nolen, interim executive director for BCPH told the Camera in an email that it is has been an honor serving in the position since former director Jeff Zayach retired in March.
“The needs have been tremendous and being part of the solution and working with this team has been enormously rewarding,” Nolen said. “Our county, municipal and health care partners as well as the school districts and CU have been amazing to work with, and our partners in community-based organizations have been absolutely essential to the vaccination success we’ve seen in Boulder County.”
When Rodriguez begins her position in June, Nolen will return to her role as deputy director.
Nolen said some of the biggest obstacles she’s faced during her time in the position have been keeping up with the county’s various pandemic responses while also figuring out how to support ongoing pandemic needs.
“We know that this pandemic has worsened some previous public health challenges, particularly in areas of mental health, in supporting youth and advancing health equity, and we are also returning to some commitments that had to be deferred, including family support visits, restaurant inspections and other basic public health functions,” she said. “We’re also thinking carefully about the lessons we’ve learned about partnering with the community, working smart and using our resources carefully as we move forward.”
In November 2020, Zayach announced he planned to leave the position after 30 years with BCPH.
“This community has been, in my opinion, the best community to work for in the entire state,” Zayach told the Camera during an interview before his retirement. “That’s because we have people who care so much about health in this community. I believe that we have people more engaged and more willing to get behind the improvement of health in our community than any other community I have experienced.”
Marta Loachamin, who was the first Latina and person of color elected to Boulder County Board of Commissioners, said she looks forward to collaborating with Rodriguez.
“My hope is that Boulder County Public Health will embrace her as the first Latina and our local community will work with her to better our public health outcomes,” she said.