KANE COUNTY—Paul Kuehnert, executive director for of the Kane County Health Department, accepted a position with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy focused exclusively on health and health care, as Senior Program Officer and Team Director of their Public Health Team. His last day with Kane County will be Friday, June 1.
Paul began working for the Health Department in June 2006, and was appointed by the board to serve as executive director beginning in June 2007. Since then he has provided executive leadership to three county departments: Health, Animal Control and the Office of Emergency Management. From the spring of 2010 on, he has also had responsibility for the Office of Community Reinvestment.
“Paul’s passion for public service and improving the health and well-being of our residents is limitless,” County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay said. “Throughout his time with us he has focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of governmental services, increasing both governmental and community partnerships and demonstrating the impact of public policy and systems changes on the health and quality of life of Kane residents.”
During Paul’s tenure, the Health Department responded to a number of a public health emergencies, such as the TB outbreak among the homeless population (which recently was featured in the CDC’s weekly MMWR); the H1N1 pandemic; and hepatitis A, which resulted in more than 2,000 gamma globulin shots given to a restaurant’s patrons. Further, the department was able to secure $500,000 in grants from private foundations; and the department has integrated master planning with the Development and Transportation departments.
“Paul has made a tremendous contribution to Kane County residents and Kane County government. I am pleased that he will have the opportunity to share his wealth of community health knowledge and expertise on a national level through this opportunity with the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,” McConnaughay said.
Effective June 2, Barbara Jeffers will become the interim executive director for the Health Department. Jeffers, assistant director for administration, has been with the Health Department for seven years. She is responsible for high-level administrative functions, including budgeting, human resources, labor relations and facilities management. Prior to county government, Jeffers was employed by the state of Illinois for 14 years—her last appointment being the director of training and development for the Department of Human Services. She has a Masters of Public Health degree from the Northern Illinois University and a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
“Barb possesses a unique set of skills and attributes that will be an asset to the Health Department during this transitional period,” McConnaughay said.