CARMEL, N.Y. - Interim County Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael J. Nesheiwat has been named to the position permanently.

“There is no question that Dr. Nesheiwat is the best candidate for the position,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “He has proved this many time over the past three years. He is a true gem and we are fortunate to have him here in Putnam. I am thrilled he has decided to accept this as a permanent appointment.” 

Odell cited numerous accomplishments attributed to Nesheiwat and in her state of the county address on March 7, she heralded the upcoming year as the “Year of the Health Provider.” This was due in part to Nesheiwat’s leadership, she said, under which the department took the final step in achieving national accreditation and is on the fast-track moving forward to reaccreditation in 2021.

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Odell said Nesheiwat’s guidance can be seen in the health department’s ongoing shift toward a quality improvement and performance management work culture. Staff have been trained in the “plan-do-study-act.” One of the first issues tackled was the reduction of paper records, while enhancing electronic record keeping. Developed and implemented by department staff, this PDSA project has improved overall productivity. In particular, disease reports are now more comprehensive and are completely captured in the New York State electronic reporting system. The ultimate result to better protect residents’ health and well-being.

Another accreditation-required task involves creating a branding communications strategy. Community partners and health department staff members were surveyed for feedback on the department’s current public image and how enhancements can be made. The department is in the process of rolling out a nameplate for its logo.

Other highlights under Nesheiwat’s leadership include building a blue-green alga monitoring program in which health department staff partnered closely with towns and beaches, and continuing tick surveillance with the New York State Department of Health in efforts to stem the rise of tick-borne illnesses.

On the nursing side, flu immunizations continued to rise in the county with the popularity of the department’s school-based and public flu clinics and the promotion of pharmacy-based immunizations. Additionally, STD surveillance and investigations are at an all-time high, important because of the rising number of cases.

Article courtesy of County Executive’s office