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Elkhart County Board of Health considers replacements after four out of seven members leave

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Elkhart County Health Department
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Elkhart County Health Department

The Elkhart County Board of Health has experienced a lot of turnover in the last few months. At its final meeting of the year Thursday night, board members discussed how to fill several vacancies.

Former board chairman Dr. Randy Cammenga quit back in September, and members Todd Meier, Dr. Ebenezer Kio and Dr. Donald Findlay all announced they would step down at the end of the year, along with County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait.

 

“It’s bittersweet,” Wait said at Thursday’s meeting. “It’s been a rough year, but for me, the board has been so supportive, which I think has really helped make it through this extremely challenging year.”

 

Goshen Fire Chief Danny Sink joined the board this month, but that still leaves three out of seven positions vacant. 

 

At Thursday’s meeting, board members discussed possibly adding a dentist to the board, as well as someone from the business community and someone to represent minority groups in the county. 

 

But Dr. Gordon Hughes also suggested adding a “community leader” to the board to help navigate interactions with the County Council. 

 

“Someone with some political background would be, I think at this time, helpful in these trying times,” Hughes said.

 

Several of the board’s resignations came after the council rejected the health department’s application for a $3 million grant that would have allowed for more community health workers in minority communities.

 

The board voted Thursday to send a list of potential candidates for at least one vacancy to the County Board of Commissioners, who are responsible for Board of Health appointments. 

 

Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.

 

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Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.