*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
November 10, 2020
Okanogan County health officer announces retirement after 16 years of service
OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Board of Health announced today that Dr. John McCarthy will be leaving his position as county health officer at the end of 2020. Dr. McCarthy has served Okanogan County for the past 16 years and has been a tireless advocate for the health and safety of county residents. He leaves on very positive terms with the Health District and Okanogan County, and in full support of their efforts to continue addressing COVID-19 and furthering community health. Under his guidance, the county was able to move to Phase 2 and begin opening schools safely.
Dr. McCarthy currently works as an Assistant Dean for Rural Programs at the UW School of Medicine, a clinical professor of family medicine, the Program Director for the WWAMI Area Health Education Center, as Chief Medical Officer for the NATIVE project, and the Health Officer for Okanogan County. The COVID-19 pandemic has required Health Officers to give substantially more time to their local health jurisdictions than in previous years; Dr. McCarthy reported to the Board of Health that he no longer has sufficient capacity to continue in his role as Health Office while satisfying his other community health responsibilities. “I have very much appreciated the opportunity to enhance the health of the county and have enjoyed my work,” McCarthy said. “Lauri Jones has been and will remain a stalwart leader for the county going forward. This pandemic will be defeated by our individual and collective commitment to protecting not just ourselves, but rather to protecting each other. Thanks for the opportunity to have worked with you.”
While the Okanogan County Board of Health is saddened to announce Dr. McCarthy’s departure, they know communities across the state will continue to benefit from his advocacy and civil service. The Okanogan County Board of Health would like to express deep appreciation for Dr. McCarthy’s 16 years of service and dedication to the health of Okanogan County as health officer.
“Dr. McCarthy has been a caring, calm, and unwavering voice of guidance and support for public health.” said Lauri Jones, Okanogan County Community Health Director. “He has been an incredible health officer for our county. I have great respect for Dr. McCarthy as a professional and friend. He will be missed.”
Dr. McCarthy will remain in his position as health officer through December 31, 2020 and is prepared to facilitate a smooth transition with his replacement. The Board of Health has not yet announced a replacement for his position.