You may recognize her from the television commercials. Donning a white lab coat, the doctor turned politician recently ran for Congress. The nationally recognized public health expert didn’t land a seat in the 13th District, but she will now be a Montgomery County Commissioner.
Valerie Arkoosh, of Springfield, was sworn in on Thursday morning. The initial ceremony was moved from the originally planned location unexpected, according to Frank X. Custer, Director of Communications for the county.
“Due to a bomb threat in the Montgomery County Courthouse, the swearing-in ceremony for Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh will be held in the Commissioners' boardroom on the 8th floor of One Montgomery Plaza at Airy and Swede streets,” said Custer.
Arkoosh was named by the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas to fill the vacancy on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners created when former Commissioner Leslie Richards resigned to join PennDOT.
“[Richards will join] the Wolf Administration in Harrisburg as state Secretary of Transportation,” said Custer in a release.
Custer said she is no stranger to the politics of the county.
“Arkoosh is a longtime resident of Montgomery County who has been engaged in public health policy development across all levels of government during her impressive career,” said Custer’s release. “She is a nationally-recognized public health expert. Until recently, she was Adjunct Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.”
Arkoosh lost the run for a Democratic seat in the 13th Distric,t which is now held by Brendan Boyle. Arkoosh is a graduate of the University Of Nebraska College Of Medicine and has a Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She performed her residency at Jefferson Medical College in Anesthesiology with a special focus on Obstetrics. She has an undergraduate degree in economics from Northwestern University.
Custer said the county’s political system is confident in the appointment.
“Her strong educational background propelled her into national prominence, and has given her a unique blend of public health, leadership, and medical expertise,” said Custer. “Upon obtaining her Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins in 2007, she became deeply engaged in the national effort to achieve comprehensive health care reform. She led a national non-profit organization of physicians, who, putting their patients before profits, joined a broad-based nation-wide coalition for reform. During this time, she developed policy and legislative strategy, and promoted public engagement in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and throughout the country.”
The county’s spokesman said her past expertise will lend well into the skills needed as commissioner.
“While much of her career has been in medicine and public health, Arkoosh has significant experience in dealing with many of the same challenges governments face,” said the release. “She has significant leadership experience managing complex organizations during times of fiscal challenge. Arkoosh served for five years as Chair of Anesthesiology at the Drexel University College of Medicine where she successfully drew upon her undergraduate training in economics to restore her department to fiscal solvency, resolving a multi-‐million dollar deficit following the Allegheny University bankruptcy. During this challenging time, she also served as Interim Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and was actively involved in the financial oversight of the medical school clinical practice plan.”
Her resume does not stop there.
“Arkoosh was an important and active member of the Shapiro-Richards transition team in 2011 serving as co-chair of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee,” said the county release. “This effort gave her not only a working knowledge of how county government worked when this administration came into office, but it also allowed her to play an important role in helping to craft the transformative changes that were subsequently made. Later, Arkoosh served as chair of the Montgomery County Board of Health, until she resigned to run for Congress.”