Home > Technology > Sonoma County names interim health officer as Mase prepares to leave post

Sonoma County names interim health officer as Mase prepares to leave post

Dr. Kismet Baldwin-Santana, who served as deputy well being officer through the COVID-19 pandemic, has been named interim well being officer, changing for now the county’s outgoing public well being chief, Dr. Sundari Mase.

Baldwin-Santana, a pediatrics specialist with a grasp’s diploma in public well being, has been with the county’s public well being division since July 2020. In her position, Baldwin supervised particular clinic providers, the general public well being lab, illness management and prevention and public well being preparedness.

She additionally assisted within the native effort to deal with COVID-19 disparities, which have had a disproportionate affect on Latino and different minority residents because the starting of the pandemic. In an interview Thursday night, Baldwin-Santana mentioned she would “attempt my hardest” to work within the public’s curiosity and proceed Mase’s work.

“I actually do really feel like Dr. Mase laid a extremely nice groundwork in public well being,” she mentioned. “My job proper now because the interim well being officer is to take care of that good work and enhance upon it, if I can throughout my time … and type of maintain down the fort whereas a everlasting well being officer is discovered … hopefully it will likely be quickly.”

Baldwin-Santana wouldn’t say whether or not she plans to use for the everlasting place.

“I am taking a look at all of my choices,” she mentioned. “However I can say I do actually benefit from the work that I’ve been doing because the deputy (well being officer). I am going to simply need to resolve what works greatest for me and the county.”

Tina Rivera, the county’s well being providers director, mentioned in an announcement Baldwin-Santana was a pure option to take over as interim well being officer whereas a nationwide search is carried out. Rivera, who was in Sacramento Thursday, was not out there for remark, based on a county spokesperson.

“Kismet has been a superb chief through the pandemic, forging helpful relationships inside the native well being care group,” Rivera mentioned within the assertion. “She has intimate data of the division because the deputy public well being officer, and he or she was the pure option to tackle the interim well being officer position.”

Mase, who introduced her resignation on March 10, is about to step down from her submit Friday. She has taken a job with the federal Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

In her last public well being message, which was prerecorded Wednesday and launched Thursday, Mase mentioned she’ll be working for the CDC’s Division of International Migration and Quarantine. In response to the CDC’s web site, the division focuses on “actions that reduce the general public well being dangers of fast world journey as a result of illnesses and outbreaks can rapidly cross worldwide borders.”

“I will function a workforce lead medical officer for the quarantine and journey epidemiology workforce,” Mase mentioned. “And I will be returning the nationwide and worldwide work in infectious illness, together with tuberculosis.”

Mase mentioned she was “honored” to function well being officer through the historic pandemic. “I want to thank all of you, the residents of Sonoma County, for serving to to guard our group and save lives,” she mentioned.

Baldwin-Santana earned her doctorate in drugs from the Ohio State College Faculty of Drugs and a grasp’s diploma in public well being from the College of California, Berkeley.

Earlier than coming to Sonoma County across the begin of the pandemic, Baldwin-Santana labored as public well being officer for San Joaquin County. She’s additionally labored as a neonatologist at Elliot Hospital in New Hampshire and a quarantine medical officer for CDC contractor Caduceus Healthcare.

Dr. Gary Inexperienced, an area infectious illness professional with Sutter Well being, mentioned Baldwin-Santana’s earlier work as public well being officer in San Joaquin County county will serve her effectively.

“I discover her very considerate,” Inexperienced mentioned. “She actually listens and doesn’t shoot from the hip.”

“Dr. Mase was a superb position mannequin for her. (Mase) was very proactive and action-oriented,” he added. “I feel that’s what Sonoma County wants.”

The county well being officer, which serves because the chief medical officer and prime well being coverage official for the county, is granted authority from the state to declare public well being emergencies, difficulty well being orders and impose penalties for noncompliance.

Baldwin-Santana takes the helm of the county’s public well being division at a crucial time, because the county pivots from the COVID-19 pandemic to endemic infections that proceed to disrupt the group, although to a far lesser diploma than prior to now three years.

Mase, throughout her public well being message Thursday, listed quite a lot of post-pandemic priorities, together with addressing the opioid/fentanyl disaster; psychological well being initiatives; well being fairness; local weather change and catastrophe preparedness.

Baldwin-Santana on Thursday wouldn’t talk about whether or not she’ll be getting a bump in compensation. County human assets officers mentioned that info was not out there Thursday however could be out there Friday.

You possibly can attain Employees Author Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @pressreno.


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