OUR MISSION: “The Ross County Health District Strives to improve the health and safety of our community through education, prevention, policy, and partnerships.”
HISTORY: The Ross County Health District was formed in 1979, when the Boards of Health of the Chillicothe City Health Department (1888) and the Ross County General Health District (1920) agreed to a merger. Even before the merger, the two health agencies usually shared one health commissioner and most of the time they shared office space and other resources. During the 20th century the health agencies occupied offices at various sites, including West Main St., West Second St., and later in the old Tuberculosis Hospital on Pohlman Rd., which had declined in use. In 1978 the agencies moved once again, this time locating their offices in the former Chillicothe Hospital on Chestnut St. They would remain there for another 20 years. In 1998, the Ross County Commissioners purchased the former Harts Department Store building at 475 Western Ave., for use as the Ross County Service Center. The combined Health District relocated offices to that facility in early 1999. In August of 2014, the health district purchased a building located at 150 East Second Street and relocated to that site.
GOVERNANCE: The Health District is governed by a seven-member Board of Health: four members are appointed by the District Advisory Council; three by the Mayor of Chillicothe. The Health District is made up of Four major divisions: Public Health Nursing, Environmental Health, Health Promotion and Quality Improvement, and Administration, which all contain a variety of programs. Currently, the health district has 37 employees. Programs are divided into those that are mandated and those that are non-mandated. Mandated programs include public health nursing (TB case management, lead poisoning case management, immunizations, etc.); environmental health programs such as sewage treatment systems and food safety; and the Vital Statistics services of birth and death records. The health district also administers a number of grants. Financially, the health district is supported by a 1-mill, voter approved tax levy, and receives additional funding from fees charged and grants administered.
Ross County Board of Health:
The Ross County Board of Health is comprised of seven members: four are appointed by the District Advisory Council and three are appointed by the Mayor of Chillicothe (with the approval of City Council). Members serve alternating five-year terms and one board member must be a physician. Vacancies are filled in the same manner as the original appointment. Each year the Board of Health elects from its membership a President and a Vice President. Additionally, members serve on committees such as Finance, Ethics, and Environmental Review. The Ross County Board of Health meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month. Meetings are held in the Health District Conference Room (150 E. Second St., Chillicothe) and begin at 4:30 p.m. Finance Committee meetings and Board of Health meetings are open to the public. Any changes to the meeting schedule are posted on this website and are also advertised in the local media.
Current Board membership is as follows:
President: Dr. Sharon Stanley (DAC) term expires March 2022
Member: Dr. David McKell (City) term expires January 2022
Member: Mrs. Joyce Kellenberger (DAC) term expires March 2024
Member: Mr. Charles Halm (City) term expires January 2020
Member: Mr. Glen Thompson (DAC) term expires February 2024
Member: Dr. Jennifer Allen (City) term expires February 2024
Member: Mrs. Dianna Gray (DAC) term expires March 2021
Health District Leadership Team:
Health Commissioner / Medical Director: Dr. Christopher Brown, MD
Administrator: Ben Avery, RS, REHS has been with the health district since 2012, starting as a sanitarian and then Director of Environmental Health. Ben moved to the Administrator position at the beginning of 2017.
Director of Pubic Health Nursing: Michelle Long, BSN, RN has been employed by the Health District since 1997. Mrs. Long has worked in various public health nursing programs and grants over the years, and was promoted to Director of Public Health Nursing in January of 2019.
Director of Environmental Health: Logan Calhoun, RS, REHS is a Registered Sanitarian and has been employed by the Health District since 2010 and was promoted to Director of Environmental Health in 2017.
Director of Administration: Vonda Kern, began working for RCHD in 2002 as the Fiscal Officer working with several different programs and divisions. In 2017, Mrs. Kern was promoted to Director of Administrative Services.
Director of Health Promotion and Quality Improvement: Kelly Dennis, R.S. began working in public health in 2005 with the Ross County Health District, and after spending time working in Pickaway County from 2012-2017, returned to Ross County in 2017 to lead the health district’s accreditation efforts.
Public Information Officer: Susan Smith, MSN, RN, PHEP Coordinator
Past Ross County Health Officers and Health Commissioners
Chillicothe City Health Department Health Officers: 1888-1919: Dr. T.S. Barnes; Dr. J.D. Miller; Dr. A.P. Cole; Dr. E.F. Waddle; Dr. J.M. Hanley; Dr. F.M. Smallwood; Dr. Walter S. Scott; Dr. J.M. Hanley (served twice).
Ross County Health Commissioners:
G.E. Robbins, MD (1920-1927)
Raymond E. Bower, MD (1927-1951)
David B. Thornburgh, MD (1953)
Newman A. Dyer, MD (1954-1955)
Benton VanDyke Scott, MD, MPH (1955-1958)
Daniel G. Caudy, MD (1958-1965)
William E. Covert, DVM (1966-1978)
Lawrence T. Odland, MD, PhD, MPH (1978-1988)
Sharon Stanley, PhD, RN-C, MS, MA (1988-1994)
Jamie Orr Eselgroth, MHA (1995-2001)
Franklin Hirsch, MPH (2001-2003)
Timothy B. Angel, PhD, RS, CPM (2003-2016)
Donald L. Berling, MD (2017- 2017)
Jeffrey C. Hill, MD (2017-2019 )
Christopher Brown, MD (2019 – present)