Public Health Director

La Plata County

County Government

The Position La Plata County (the County) is seeking an experienced, educated leader to build the Public Health Department from the ground up. This position oversees the planning, development, and implementation of public health services, and administers and enforces public health laws, orders, rules, and standards set by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and La Plata County. The Public Health Director assesses and monitors health factors in the County and develops strategies to effectively communicate health issues to the public. The Director provides oversight, evaluation, and program management for the Public Health Department. The Director provides organizational oversight through 2023 and, effective January 1, 2024, will have jurisdictional authority.

Some specific responsibilities for this role are the development and delivery of the Public Health budget. The Director will also authorize and monitor expenditures to ensure they are within budget limits and guidelines. This position prepares and manages the strategic plan along with the budget.

Other responsibilities include working with the staff to monitor and analyze community health risks. The Public Health Director provides leadership and support for public health improvement activities and strategies. They develop, oversee, and participate in staff development and ensure adequate professional development and training for all staff.

The Public Health Director will also be responsible for hiring La Plata County’s Health Department staff and establishing a working operational department for success. The Public Health Department has a budget approval of $940,000 in 2023 for organizational and start-up purposes. Beginning in 2024, the base budget is estimated at approximately $4.8 Million, which includes approximately $1.2 Million in anticipated direct County funding allocation and the remainder from CDPHE and other funders. Projected FTEs are between 29-70.


  • Build positive working relationships with the County Manager and Public Health Board (Board) members.
  • Focus on recruiting Public Health staff and building the department up. Develop an engaging culture to make it a fun place to work.
  • Understand the public health needs of underserved populations and make it a priority to address these needs.
  • Develop and deliver programs and services to address and improve environmental health (water and air quality issues) and substance abuse in the community.
  • Educate the County on the importance and the value of the department and why people should care about its efforts.
  • Get right into the community and listen to what they need. Get involved in the community’s efforts and overall understanding of what La Plata County is all about.
  • Build on the lessons that came out of COVID-19 and make preparations for the next pandemic.

The Successful Candidate

The successful candidate is a public health educator, passionate about building a community that fosters and understands the importance of public health. The ideal candidate is able to enlist the community and other public health leaders within the community to establish and shape the vision for ways of improving public health needs. The Director will be able to articulate the Board and County’s compelling vision for the future of public health and want to be a part of that change.

The ideal candidate has outstanding organizational leadership skills and wants to build a culture of excellence that inspires staff. The Director is a courageous and collaborative leader that is not afraid of conflict but rather has the drive to resolve issues and get things done. The successful candidate is a tough leader but possesses a customer service-focused mindset and is approachable and friendly. The Director encourages staff to share their ideas while listening and being open to hearing and receiving feedback. The Director can also empower the staff, delegate tasks well, and will value the skills the staff contributes. The Director is a team player and encourages teamwork throughout the department.

The successful candidate can be the positive, encouraging voice in the community that people want to listen to. The Director is a strong advocate for public health and is able to display that for the community. The Director is results-driven, solutions-oriented, and a strategic thinker when it comes to building the department up. The ideal candidate is an effective communicator with the Board, staff, and community and can address the challenges of Public Health and help educate those that need to be aware of the challenges. The successful candidate understands the history of public health and recognizes their expertise in the public health field to share it within the community to build the best Public Health department in the County.


Minimum requirements include any combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in public health, environmental health, health education, epidemiology, nursing, health administration, or biostatistics at an accredited college or university. At least five years of increasingly responsible administrative experience in public health. Thorough knowledge of Public Health regulations, policies, and statutes and the ability to interpret them is required. Experience in a managerial role, including oversight and budget management, is also required. Able to satisfy the minimum requirements set forth in Colorado law and regulations.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in a public health discipline. Fifteen years of Public Health experience is preferred.

Inside The Organization

La Plata County is a statutory subdivision of the state that operates under the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)-manager form of government, wherein the County Manager and Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) serve as the legislative body. The BOCC consists of three elected officials, each representing a geographic district, but all of whom are elected at large. As the governing body of the County, the BOCC performs legislative, budgetary, and policy-making functions, administers the La Plata County Land Use System, and advocates for citizens at all levels of government. Equally important, the BOCC establishes the vision and sets the direction for the County government to plan for the future challenges that will face the community. The BOCC appoints the County Attorney, who serves as legal counsel and advisor to the BOCC. The BOCC also appoints the County Manager, who performs executive functions including appointing and supervising department heads and hiring staff, coordinating, and administering County programs, developing and maintaining intergovernmental relationships, drafting budgets, and advising the Board on policy matters.

La Plata County employs currently 439 FTEs, and the County’s FY 2023 total adopted expenditure budget is $69,665,813.

The Community

La Plata County, located in southwest Colorado, is characterized by a diverse geography of mountains, forests, and grasslands. The San Juan National Forest stretches across much of the northern part of the County, offering extensive outdoor and recreational opportunities. The County is home to five ski resorts and numerous hiking and biking trails, which is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. As such, the County seat of Durango has become a destination for retirees, second homeowners, and others wanting to live near scenic areas.

The County is a growing and progressive-focused community and has the drive for change to better all community members. The community has robust County programs and events for residents to get involved in and represent La Plata County.

Our Vision:

  • Together, we will create a county that is healthy, safe, and economically viable for present and future generations and one that honors everyone no matter their race, religion, or socioeconomic status.
  • We will work to attain the highest level of trust, satisfaction, and confidence of County residents, customers, and employees.
  • La Plata County will be the premier employer in the region operating with excellent efficiency and effectiveness.

Our Mission:

La Plata County, located in southwest Colorado, is a subdivision of the State of Colorado. We provide programs and services that create and foster positive results and health, safety, and welfare for all County residents. We do this through wise stewardship of public resources, by building effective partnerships, through ensuring a balanced budget and fair taxation system and encouraging active citizen engagement.

Quick Facts

  • Population (2021): 56,250
  • Median Household Income (in 2021 dollars): $75,089
  • Median Home Value: $430,200
  • Median Age: 40.8 years

All demographic information was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Compensation and Benefits

The expected hiring range is $106,000 – $133,000, depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

Benefits offered include the following:

  • Medical, dental, vision, life, and long-term disability insurance
  • Participation in and County Match of Colorado Retirement Association Retirement Program
  • 38+ Paid Vacation/Holiday Days
  • 13+ Paid Sick Days
  • 12 weeks of paid Parental Leave
  • Flexible Spending/Health Savings Accounts
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Voluntary and Special Fitness Wellness Incentives
  • Pet Insurance

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. The position will be open until filled with a first review of applications beginning April 17, 2023.


Please direct questions to Pamela Wideman at and Alexa Worrell at

To apply for this job please visit