First woman tapped to lead Genesee County Health Department

Dr. Pamela Hackert will not only replace John McKellar as health director, she will also be tasked with being the County’s Medical Director.
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/22/2020) - State and local health leaders are warning people to stay cautious and attentive when it comes to COVID-19.

Cases are rising on the state and county level, with Genesee County leading Mid-Michigan.

This third surge comes as the Genesee County Health Director is on his way out.

John McKellar announced his retirement about two months ago, launching a nationwide search for his replacement.

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to approve their choice, Dr. Pamela Hackert.

County Commissioner Bryant Nolden said 8 people applied and Dr. Hackert was by far the best candidate. He explained her lengthy resume spoke for itself, but he was even more pleased after speaking with her.

Nolden explained, “One thing that really impressed me about her was that her passion for including the community, and whatever the needs are of the community.”

A focus critical in a City like Flint that’s lost all trust for the government in the wake of the water crisis.

Dr. Hackert will be leaving her role as Medical Director for the Jackson County Health Department to come to Genesee County. She’s held the position since August of 2019.

She’s also worked for the state health department, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw Counties.

Dr. Hackert has both a medical and a law degree, as well as a Masters in Public Health.

She’ll not only replace John McKellar as health director, she’ll also be tasked with being the County’s Medical Director.

The County Commissioners combined two positions.

She will become the first woman to lead the Genesee County Health Department, when she starts January 1, 2021.

Commissioner Nolden said she cannot start sooner because she had to give her previous employer 90-days notice.

So what’s the plan for the County over the next two months mid-pandemic?

“She will act as a consultant and the go-between during that time,” Nolden said. “So, I think we’re going to have continuity, because we have a plan of putting an interim there, too, to, you know, just right this ship until she comes on board the first of the year.”

No word yet on who will fill the interim position or when McKellar’s final day will be.

“I think he was very open and transparent with his dealing with the community. I know there have been some bumps in the road with certain things but I think that he overall has done a remarkable job,” Nolden added.

McKellar actually planned to retire earlier this year; but, he said once the pandemic started, he couldn’t leave.

“I feel good. I’ve got mixed emotions, but I’m ready to go,” McKellar added.

He is looking forward to spending time with his family.

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