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Let’s bring diversity to board

To the editor:

Residents of Jefferson County should keep a close watch on developments at the upcoming meeting of the Jefferson County General Health District board. Tuesday’s meeting will include appointment of a health board member by the district advisory council. One seat on that board is up for renewal or replacement every March, and the Ohio Revised Code requires the upcoming seat be held by a physician. Five out of five current board members are male and all have been appointed since 2019. Our county health commissioner and health department medical director posts also are occupied by males.

The advisory council is made up of local officials who consult with and make recommendations to the health district board. Those officials are experienced enough with public policy to know that the makeup of our health district board should accurately reflect the face of our communities, and that includes women and persons of color and various abilities. In addition, the state of Ohio is insistent on diversity on such boards and asks for a plan of action on that issue. Fulfilling that diversity mandate will also bode well for our general health district as it continues to seek state accreditation.

I hope you will join me in calling on those council members to evaluate the candidates for this health board post and make diversity a priority. It’s always important, but never more so during crisis times, like a pandemic. An added bonus would be to appoint a woman to the health board during the observance of Women’s History Month. C’mon guys, you can do this.

A few years ago, former President Barack Obama spoke on leadership and said, “I’m absolutely confident that, for two years, if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything … living standards and outcomes.”

Leadership researchers have decades of data from actual leaders to support Obama’s statement. Let’s pay attention to that. Women get the job done. Now we need the district advisory council to make sure we’re all represented on the health board.

Marjie DeFede

Rayland

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