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Elkhart County Board of Health appoints new chair, vice-chair

Courtesy of the Elkhart Co. Health Dept.
Courtesy of the Elkhart Co. Health Dept.

The Elkhart County Board of Health has a new leadership team — a new chair and vice chair were appointed at the board’s meeting Thursday evening.

Board member Paul Shetler Fast will replace current chair Josi DeHaven, who is leaving the board at the end of the month to move out of state.

Former vice chair Bill Davis will remain on the board, but resigned his leadership role to allow a medical doctor to step in. Rheumatologist Dr. Gordon Hughes will replace him.

“I have especially appreciated your wise, consultative, temperate and highly practical leadership on the board,” Davis told DeHaven at Thursday’s meeting. “I know it’s a brief time that you’ve been the chairperson, but you took us through some very rough times.”

DeHaven is the fifth member to leave the board of health in the last year. Four out of seven members, including former board chair Dr. Randy Cammenga, left after the County Council denied an application for a grant to hire more community health workers.

Shetler Fast was appointed to fill one of those vacancies, as well as longtime Goshen Community Schools nurse Susan Stiffney, oncologist Dr. Houman Vaghefi and Goshen Fire Chief Dan Sink.

Both Shetler Fast and Hughes are serving terms that run through the end of this year.

“The Elkhart County Board of Health is privileged to have new board leaders who are passionately committed to developing vibrant partnerships with our community health organizations, non-profits, government and business leaders, and community members,” DeHaven said in a release. “I’m confident that the future holds great opportunity and promise in the work of public health in our community.”

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Gemma DiCarlo came 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.