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Director of Seattle & King County Public Health stepping down

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today said they will begin the search for a new director of Public Health – Seattle & King County, after being notified by Dr. David Fleming that he is stepping down as Director of Public Health effective Aug. 11. Fleming has agreed to stay on during the transition on an interim basis as County Health Officer.

“I’ve been honored to serve as Director and Health Officer for more than seven years. After a lot of thought, I’ve come to the realization that my personal plans and needs don’t allow me to make the long-term leadership commitment that this organization now requires,” said Dr. Fleming. “As a department, we’re going through an enormous transformation in response to budget challenges and changing community needs. My highest priority is that the department has the long-term, stable leadership that will be needed to implement and see these changes through.”

Under an interlocal agreement that merged the city and county health departments in 1951, Public Health – Seattle & King County serves both the County and the City. The County Health Officer has the statutory duty of protecting and improving the health and well-being of all people in King County.

“I congratulate David on his accomplishments, and thank him for his service to transform public health and establish a strong foundation upon which we will continue to build,” said Executive Constantine. “During his tenure, we helped more than 165,000 King County residents sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, reduced youth obesity by 17 percent in participating King County schools, and established King County as the region with the world’s best survival rate for cardiac arrests.”

“I thank David for his service to the people of Seattle and King County. He brought a fresh perspective to the department over the past seven years, including the navigation of an important budget during tough economic times,” said Mayor Murray. “Under David’s leadership, King County led the nation as a model for Affordable Care Act enrollment.”

The Executive appointed Patty Hayes, Director of the Community Health Services Division in Public Health, to serve as interim director of Public Health beginning Aug. 11. Hayes has worked in health care and public policy as a nurse, academic, consultant and administrator in both the public and private sectors for more than 30 years.

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