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Jane Smilie Leads Deschutes County Public Health

Jane Smilie, MPH, is incoming Health Services Director for Deschutes County, Oregon.
Jane Smilie Leads Deschutes County Public Health

Jane Smilie, MPH. Photo courtesy of Jon Ebelt.

Jane Smilie, MPH, takes on new role as Health Services Director for Deschutes County, Oregon.

April 29, 2014

Jane Smilie, MPH, a longtime colleague of NWCPHP, is the incoming Health Services Director for Deschutes County, Oregon. Smilie will begin her new role on May 7. She replaces Scott Johnson who is retiring after serving Deschutes County in various roles for 20 years.

Smilie’s most recent position was as the Administrator for the Public Health and Safety Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. She has broad experience in public health and has worked in a variety of public health capacities in Montana for the past 25 years. Her contributions to the state have been significant.

“Jane’s impact on the public health system in Montana is too great to measure,” said Lindsey Krywaruchka, Public Health System Improvement Coordinator for the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. “It’s ironic, because measuring impact is one of her great legacies to public health in our state. Jane will be sorely missed, but we will build on the great work she has done.”

In Deschutes County, the department that Smilie will oversee is one of the county’s largest. It has an annual budget of more than $32 million and is charged with implementing many health care reform initiatives. Because Oregon opted to participate in Medicaid expansion, the number of people looking to receive preventive care from Deschutes County Health Services is rising rapidly. In addition, Deschutes combined its public and mental health departments in 2009 to create the Health Services Department. This move widened the influence of the department but also increased its complexity, especially in an era when health care reforms actively seek to connect mental and physical health services with prevention.

As reported in The Bend Bulletin, Smilie said, “The whole Medicaid expansion piece has created a different dynamic, or a different opportunity, to where (health officials) can have a real impact bringing up the entire health status of a population.”

Since Smilie will remain in the region that NWCPHP covers, we look forward to continued collaboration with her.

“Jane has been a great collaborator for us and others in public health,” said Tao Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, Director of NWCPHP. “We've enjoyed working with her department on the Montana Public Health Summer Institute and our Public Health Management Certificate. At a time when public health is in a state of transformation, Jane has recognized the value of investing in education and training for the public health workforce.”

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