HCPHA Director leaving

Published 11:23am Monday, September 16, 2013

WINTON – A shade over 16 months after hiring a new director, the Hertford County Board of Health is searching for a new leader.

James Madson, who joined the Hertford County Public Health Authority (HCPHA) as its director on April 30, 2012, resigned last week to accept a similar role with the Beaufort County Health Department.

“For being a director for the first time, Mr. Madson did an excellent job for us,” said Howard Hunter III, chairman of the Hertford County Board of Health. “It hurts us to lose him, especially to another county in our part of the state, but we’re happy for him to get closer to his home and his family and close friends.”

While the local Board of Health searches for Madson’s replacement, the HCPHA will be under the interim direction of veteran employees Romona Bowser and Diane McLawhorn. Bowser is HCPHA’s longtime Chief Financial Officer while McLawhorn has years of experience as the agency’s Director of Nursing.

“They did a great job filling in the last time we were looking for a new director,” Hunter stressed. “They have both agreed to fill in once again and, speaking on behalf of the board, I’m thrilled to have two outstanding employees who are willing and ready to do what it takes to lead our county’s health department while the board searches for a new director.”

Hunter said the desired candidate for the job needs to have a master’s degree in public health. He added he will recommend to the board that the new director needs to establish residency in Hertford County or a surrounding county no later than six months following his or her date of employment.

According to an article published in the Washington Daily News (a sister publication of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald), Madson will begin his new duties in BeaufortCounty on Sept. 23. There, he replaces former health director Roxanne Holliman, who retired earlier this summer.

“It’s a bigger population than the one I’m serving now,” Madson told the WDN when speaking of his motivation for seeking the Beaufort County position. “It’s closer to my home, which is Greenville, the Greenville area. It’s also an area I’ve always enjoyed. I do a lot of boating in the Goose Creek State Park area and that kind of stuff.”

Dr. Stan Cohen, a veterinarian who chairs the Beaufort County Board of Health, said Madson’s experience and knowledge, including his familiarity with Beaufort County Health Department personnel, was a major factor in the health board offering him the position.

“For us, it’s just a good fit,” Cohen said. “We just felt like he just would work and fit in perfectly. I think he will.”

Cohen said Madson’s supervisory experience with the HCPHA, which has about 10 more employees than the Beaufort County Health Department and a budget almost twice as large, was attractive to the health board there. Cohen said the Beaufort Health Board views Madson’s Greenville roots as “a plus.”

“He came across very well. When he showed up at the meeting, he had already done his research and knew a fair amount about our county already, what the health department was doing,” Cohen said.

Madson believes he brings some unique qualifications to his new job.

“I have a diverse skills set when it comes to public health. I started out in environmental health working in aquatic toxicology. So, I’m familiar with water pollution and other types of pollution and chemicals in the environment,” Madson said. “I have a degree in nursing. … I did a lot of work with pediatrics, then I became a public-health nurse. … I have a master’s in public health, specializing in epidemiology and biostatistics.”

Prior to his health department career, Madson served 24 years in the Army, including 13 years in the preventive-medicine field, which is equivalent to the public health arena in civilian life.

Madson originally hails from Hinesville, Georgia. He has served a Director of Public Health in Italy, California and Honduras.

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