Released: April 16, 2021
During its April 7 public meeting, Delaware County Council appointed five members to the Delaware County Board of Health. The appointments were made as part of a strategic plan to create a County Health Department, slated to open January 2022. Creating a Board of Health is a pre-requisite by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in order to be recognized as a County Health Department.
The five members were selected from 85 applicants who submitted letters of interest and resumes. The Board of Health is responsible for formulating rules and regulations for the prevention of disease, the prevention and removal of conditions that constitute a menace to health, and for the promotion and preservation of public health. Rules and regulations formulated by the Board of Health must be approved by County Council.
The newly appointed Delaware County Board of Health members:
Patrick J. Brennan, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Penn Medicine
Rosemarie O’Malley Halt RPh. MPH, Delaware County COVID-19 Task Force Director
Y. Lily Higgins MD MBA MS, Market Chief Medical Officer at Keystone First and AmeriHealth Caritas PA
Oni Richards, Executive Director of African Family Health Organization
Lora Siegmann Werner, Regional Director/Environmental Health Scientist at the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry CDC
“We have made enormous progress since we officially began the process of establishing a County Health Department a little over a year ago and this is one more step towards our end goal,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “The five Board of Health members selected demonstrate both the experience and knowledge necessary to assist and guide the health department’s efforts and an immense passion towards ensuring our residents are receiving the highest level of public health services. Together, our goal is to build healthy and thriving communities.”
Work to officially create a County Health Department began in January 2020. Despite the hurdles faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Council has worked to identify and complete the steps necessary to establish a County Health Department including commissioning an Economic Impact/Feasibility Study, completing a strategic plan, holding listening sessions with coalitions and organizations, and meeting with the Pennsylvania Department of Health weekly. The County plans to hire a Director for the new Delaware County Health Department and begin hiring personnel for the department this summer. By January 2022, the County anticipates that the new Delaware County Health Department will be operational.
The timeline for the creation of the County Health Department can be found here: https://www.delcopa.gov/health/pdfs/Timeline.pdf
The vision of the Delaware County Health Department is to ensure that all members of the Delaware County community have access to the resources that provide the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life. The Delaware County Health Department will strive to promote, protect, and assure conditions for optimal health for all residents of Delaware County through leadership, prevention, response, and partnership with the community.
More information about the future Delaware County Health Department can be found here: https://www.delcopa.gov/health/index.html