Snohomish Health District chooses new health officer

Mark Beatty

Mark Beatty

EVERETT — Dr. Mark Beatty, whose background includes work as a medical officer with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been chosen as the new health officer for the Snohomish Health District.

He replaces Dr. Gary Goldbaum, who was the health officer at the public health agency for nearly a decade.

Beatty, 52, has a masters in public health with a specialty in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He currently is working as an epidemiology consultant and instructor in South Korea.

He earned his medical degree at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in 1993.

The Snohomish Health District board voted Tuesday to unanimously approve Beatty’s selection. He will be paid $187,000 annually. He is expected to begin work in August.

Beatty was chosen from an initial group of 14 applicants.

The 15-member health district board is made up of city council members from throughout Snohomish County as well as members of the Snohomish County Council.

Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, an Edmonds City Council member and chairwoman of the health district board, said that Beatty was interviewed twice, including one in-person interview.

“I think he’s probably the best candidate you could find for this position,” she said.

Snohomish County Councilmember Stephanie Wright said that Beatty’s experience is what helped him stand out.

“He was so impressive, what he’s done first hand,” she said. “He was very personable. I think the public will deal with him well.”

He spoke to board members via Skype on Tuesday.

He completed his pediatrics residency program at Oregon Health &Science University in Portland. “I did my my training in the Northwest and always thought that part of the country was beautiful,” he said when asked about his interest in coming to Washington.

Fraley-Monillas told him of a recent health district study documenting an alarming increase in sexually transmitted disease rates in Snohomish County.

Beatty said that when Baltimore experienced an outbreak of syphilis, one study used mapping to identify the areas with the biggest problems. “I think it’s an interesting approach,” he said. “I’d like to see if it would work.”

Beatty has worked in a number of roles since graduating from medical school.

These include being a medical epidemiologist for the CDC from 2000 to 2006, as a medical epidemiologist for the International Vaccine Institute, and as medical director for clinical development for the biotech company Biogen.

He volunteered with Catholic Medical Missions in 1996, providing health care to families in rural Honduras.

Beatty will join a public health agency with the equivalent of 137 full-time employees and an operating budget of $18.4 million.

Like public health agencies across the state, the district has weathered substantial cuts. In October, when announcing his plans to retire, Goldbaum noted that the staff had been cut by more than one-third since 2009.

Local cities were asked to make a per capita contribution and many did, providing the health district with $400,000 this year. The health district also received $673,000 in per capita money from Snohomish County.

The Legislature recently approved additional money for public health agencies statewide. Just how much will come to the Snohomish Health District is still unclear, health district spokeswoman Heather Thomas said.

Goldbaum served as both the lead physician for the health district and its chief administrator.

Beatty will serve solely as its chief medical officer. An administrator is expected to be hired in the coming months, Thomas said.

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