FLEMINGTON, NJ – The county no longer has a Division of Health Services.

Instead, the county Freeholders decided that the division should be elevated to its own department.

“The demands on health services in the County continue to evolve,” Freeholder Board Director Matt Holt said at the Dec. 18 Freeholder meeting. “In 2018 alone, the unit has dealt with major health matters, with the discovery of the East Asian tick and an outbreak of E. Coli linked to romaine lettuce, as just two examples. In both instances, work from the Hunterdon County Health Division received national recognition and made a significant public health impact, while protecting resident health locally.”

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The Freeholders appointed long-time Health Officer Karen DeMarco as the Department Director.

Organizationally, the Division of Health services was within the Department of Public Safety and Health Services. However, the greater emphasis on health, food safety, and environmental regulations warrants Health Services to be elevated to a standalone Department, Holt said.

“The elevation of the Health Division to a Department represents the strategic commitment to ensure Public Health and Safety needs are addressed on a daily basis, as well as the various emergent responses that regularly occur,” County Chief of Staff George Wagner told the Freeholders. “Health staff work to prevent and respond to routine and large-scale events that pose a threat to public health.”

Under the revised table of organization, six divisions are overseen by the Health Department Director: Public Health Preparedness, Environmental Health, Public Health Nursing, Solid Waste, Vector, and Weights and Measures.

DeMarco has 17 years of experience in the public health field, is an Epidemiologist and licensed Health Officer, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Rutgers University.