County Welcomes New Public Health Director

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Jiancheng Huang

Posted: May 23, 2022

Clatsop County is pleased to announce the selection of Jiancheng Huang as its new public health director.

Huang brings more than 20 years of experience in public health work and administration, most recently as the director of the Oswego County (New York) Health Department.

“I am honored to be chosen as the next Public Health Director of Clatsop County. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to continue my rural public health practice in this county,” he said. “When I came for the job interview, I was moved by the county department heads’ and department staff’s energy and passion for their professions. I was impressed by the community’s enthusiastic involvement in local public health.”

Huang is expected to assume the post on or around July 10. He replaces Margo Lalich, who has served as interim public health director from March 2021.

“We are so fortunate to have someone as experienced and knowledgeable as Dr. Huang come in and lead the Clatsop County Public Health team,” Board of Commissioners Chair Mark Kujala said. “His background in public health is impressive and his passion undeniable.  I'm anxious for the residents of Clatsop County to get to know him.”

Huang obtained his medical degree from Shanghai Second Medical University in Shanghai, China in 1987, and his master of science degree from Harvard School of Public Health in 1993.

His professional background includes work as a clinical research specialist with the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania; as an epidemiologist with the Maine Bureau of Health; and as director of the Maine Immunization Program. He has served as director of the Oswego County Health Department since 2012.

Huang has also served with a number of local and national public health-related boards and organizations.

During his tenure with the Maine Bureau of Health, the state’s child immunization rate rose from 41st in the nation to 14th in three years, and achieved one of the highest flu vaccination rates among school children during a 2009-10 avian flu outbreak.

At Oswego County, multiple health programs including ones for emergency preparedness and health disparity were recognized with national awards, and the county’s COVID response earned an Innovative Practice award from the National Association of County & City Officials in 2021.

Huang also pushed for the expansion of the county’s modest Healthy Families maternal and child program through partnerships with other community organizations and eventually earned full state funding for the service.

The Clatsop County Public Health Department has a staff of 20 and an annual budget of $4.9 million and provides a range of services and programs including maternal and child health, immunizations, reproductive health, health promotion, communicable disease response, and environmental health.

“Recent released annual county health rankings show that Clatsop County’s health outcomes and health factors are both ranked in the higher middle range of counties in the State – that’s a solid foundation for promoting public health in the county,” Huang said. “With county employees’ dedication and community members’ support, together we will continue to advance Clatsop County’s public health to a new, higher level and make the county a healthier place to live, work, study, and play for all.”

The Clatsop County Public Health Department has led the local COVID-19 pandemic response with case investigations, contact tracing, and testing, as well as organizing mass vaccination events and outreach efforts in cooperation with Columbia Memorial Hospital, Providence Seaside Hospital, and other partners.

Lalich previously served with Clatsop County for 15 years beginning in 1998, including as department director from 2009 to 2013. She stepped into the top post last year following the departure of former director Mike McNickle.

“We were so blessed to have Margo during this historic time in public health,” said Kujala, who also serves on the county’s COVID Task Force. “She came back to Clatsop County Public Health in the middle of a global pandemic and her leadership made the difference in our response to COVID-19. She is always accessible and committed to outreach to every group in our community. I can’t imagine the last year and a half without her.”