Incoming Garfield County Public Health Director Joshua Williams.

Williams named new Garfield County Public Health director

December 20, 2021

Garfield County has named Joshua Williams its new public health director, a role he will take over on Jan. 4, 2022. He’s replacing current Public Health Director Yvonne Long, who is retiring after 22 years with the county.

Williams, who is currently the Garfield County environmental health manager, was formally designated to the position unanimously by the Garfield County Board of Health (Board of County Commissioners) following a nationwide search and comprehensive interview process by the county’s screening committee.

By state statute, a public health director may be “a physician, physician assistant, public health nurse, or other qualified public health professional.” Williams has worked as an administrator and environmental health director for county health departments in Indiana, among other positions in the field, prior to joining Garfield County as environmental health manager in 2014. A U.S. Army veteran, Williams was recently president of the Colorado Environmental Health Association in 2018.

“I am honored and humbled at being selected for appointment as the next Garfield County Public Health director,” he said. “I look forward to bringing my past public health administration experience, as well as my continued dedication to local public health service and quality improvement to the director position.”

Long, who has served as the director for the past eight years, said she is very comfortable handing the reins to Williams, who is an excellent fit for the role.

“I leave this job in very capable hands. The county is getting the best of both worlds because we had two exceptional candidates for the position right here in public health,” Long said. “Josh is bringing his talents and unique personality to the role and will do great things for Garfield County.

“I have no regrets in my time as public health director and am so thankful for our incredibly strong staff, which has been especially amazing over these past two years,” she added. “I couldn’t be prouder or more humbled to have been in this position and to serve the county for the past 22 years. I couldn’t ask for a better staff or county commissioners, who have always supported public health. The management team has also been a huge support over my past eight years as director. They are one of the strongest, most forward-thinking teams that I’ve had the privilege of working with.”

“There were two very strong candidates who work for public health,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “I want to acknowledge Yvonne’s leadership and mentoring of her employees, who will step up and move our health department forward.”

The official vote on the promotion takes place at the regular commissioners’ meeting on Jan. 4.

“I am excited to continue working with the outstanding staff here at Garfield County Public Health in this new role and leading the team through continued COVID-19 response and recovery,” Williams added. “We will continue delivering core public health services, as well as the next upcoming cycle of public health assessment and improvement planning.”

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