SRHD News

Spokane Regional Board of Health Approves Velázquez as Interim Health Officer

Spokane Regional Board of Health Approves Velázquez as Interim Health Officer

Dec 04, 2020

Media Contact: Kelli Hawkins | khawkins@srhd.org | (509) 324-1539, c (509) 994-8968


Spokane, Wash. – During yesterday’s Spokane County Board of Health Meeting, members unanimously voted in favor of retaining Dr. Francisco R. Velázquez as the interim health officer for Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD).

Velázquez will hold the position until the board of health (BOH) completes the recruitment process for hiring a permanent health officer.

“We are grateful to have Dr. Velázquez, a knowledgeable and qualified health expert who is committed to helping the community through the pandemic,” said BOH Chairman and Spokane Valley Mayor Ben Wick. “Our unanimous vote was a vote of confidence in his ability to lead the team at SRHD not only in their efforts to keep the community safe during the pandemic but also in the many, many public health programs that continue to be conducted every day.”

Wick further explained that in the first few weeks of Velázquez’s time at SRHD, he has shown a strong commitment to meeting with and providing guidance to community organizations, businesses, healthcare partners, and many more while ensuring their collaborations continue to benefit the health and welfare of the people in Spokane County.

“Dr. Velázquez has a clear admiration for the teams at SRHD and the hard work they do to keep us safe and healthy in so many different facets of our community,” said Wick. “His recognition of their accomplishments is a leadership quality that is highly regarded.”

In addition, Velázquez is recognized internationally through his many lectures and articles on healthcare, technology, and economics. He has received awards for leadership and innovation and maintains a high level of involvement in the Spokane community.

After receiving a Doctor of Medicine at Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, he completed his training at the Mallory Institute of Pathology and the Boston University Medical Center. Subsequently, he obtained a Masters in Healthcare Management and Policy from Harvard University School of Public Health. Velázquez went on to hold leadership positions throughout healthcare and academic institutions in Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, and Texas. He also led several companies in California before moving to Spokane to become the President and CEO of Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories (PAML) in 2012.

Since moving to Spokane, he has been in the role of advisor and consultant to healthcare and technology companies, led healthcare and economic initiatives in the Spokane area, and served on boards and leadership groups at area universities, medical schools and organizations such as Greater Spokane Incorporated, Life Sciences Washington Institute, Spokane Symphony, United Way, and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

“Dr. Velázquez’ experience in leadership in the healthcare field and contribution to the Spokane region will play key roles as he contributes to the work of the health district. His guidance will be valuable to not only navigate our community through the current pandemic, but to address the overall health of our region,” said Wick.

The hiring process for a permanent health officer will begin immediately. The BOH will first procure a recruitment firm through a request for proposal process, expected to be completed by the end of Jan. The hired firm will then begin the recruitment process.