Dixon has last day as Allegheny County Health Department director
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For the first time in 20 years the Allegheny County Health Department has a new leader, with other significant changes in organization and focus on the way.
Ronald Voorhees, the Health Department's chief of epidemiology and biostatistics and an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, took over as interim director today.
He replaces Bruce Dixon, who, in a move orchestrated by county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, was fired by the Board of Health on March 7, with his termination effective after 90 days. Dr. Dixon, whose last day on the job was Tuesday, did not return calls requesting comment.
Lee Harrison, the health board president, said the transition was "smooth," adding that nationwide advertising for the director's position has already attracted more than a dozen applicants. Dr. Voorhees, who was chief medical officer for the New Mexico Department of Health from 2004 through 2007 and has said he will apply to become the department's permanent director, was unavailable for comment yesterday afternoon.
Dr. Harrison said Dr. Voorhees is a "highly qualified public health official with experience," but a national search for candidates is "the right way to go and part of the process no matter how strong the internal candidate is."
When a new director is named, he or she will likely be heading a different department than the one managed by Dr. Dixon for 20 years because health board committees are reviewing the department's structure and public health programs.
First Published June 6, 2012 12:00 am