Jeff Lee

HOLBROOK — Navajo County has a new health director.

Jeff Lee takes over for interim director Daniel Duchon. He began his duties April 17.

On Tuesday, Lee introduced himself to the Navajo County Board of Supervisors.

“It’s an honor and privilege for me to accept the position as health director of Navajo County,” he said. “This position comes with great responsibility and challenges — both financial and core public health challenges. I am coming to a staff who are dedicated, experienced and willing for change. Together, I look forward to the challenges, taking them on and approaching them with our local, county, federal, tribal and state partners.”

Prior to being named Navajo County’s health director, Lee was the interim director of the Coconino County Department of Emergency Management, where, under his direction, provided oversight and coordination for planning, response and recovery during emergency situation.

One such emergency occurred during the most recent winter, in which the 10th largest snowstorm in Flagstaff history dropped about 40 inches of snow over the course of four days.

Lee also served as a key player in the progression of the Public Health Emergency Management Program (PHEP) in Coconino County while serving as the program’s manager for the Coconino County Public Health Services District from 2012 to late 2016. Under his direction, the PHEP program responded to multiple disease outbreaks, wildland fires and re-emerging disease threats. Notable incidents include the Slide Fire, as well as the Tick-borne relapsing fervor, measles, ebola and zika responses.

In addition to events within Coconino County, Lee also deployed to neighboring communities to assist with emergency operations during the Doce, Yarnell and Cedar fires, as well as Operation Winter Freeze on the Navajo Nation.

During his time in the PHEP program, Coconino County had the only one in Arizona to successfully receive Project Public Health Ready re-recognition from the National Association of City and County Health Officials. He also received a best practice recognition from NACCHO for the CCPHSD PHEP programs hazard and risk assessment.

Lee also has experience with the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Incident Management Team-White, from 2010 to 2013, where he was instrumental in the response to the Joplin, Mo., tornado and Hurricane Irene.

Prior to entering the emergency management career field, Lee served 10 years as a crew chief in the U.S. Air Force, where he worked on F-16 fighter jets.

Lee earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety and Emergency Management from Grand Canyon University, a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in government and policy from Grand Canyon University, and a Master of Science in Emergency Management with an emphasis in terrorism from Walden University.

He is also the only current emergency preparedness manager in Arizona to receive his Certified Emergency Manager designation from the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Lee has served as chair for the Northern Arizona Region Healthcare Coalition, president and vice-president for the Arizona Local Public Health Emergency Response Association, and regional liaison to the Arizona Department of Health Services Senior Advisory Committee.

Reach the editor at mjohnson@wmicentral.com

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