SRHD News

Spokane County Board of Health Unanimously Approves Hiring on New Health Officer

Spokane County Board of Health Unanimously Approves Hiring on New Health Officer

Oct 07, 2021

Kelli Hawkins | khawkins@srhd.org | 509.324.1539, c 509.994.8968


SPOKANE, Wash. – During a special meeting held today by the Spokane County Board of Health (BOH) meeting, the BOH members unanimously voted to approve the hiring of Dr. Francisco Velázquez as the permanent health officer for Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD).

SRHD Administrative Officer Dr. Amelia Clark formally requested approval to hire Velázquez, who has been in the position of interim health officer since November of 2020.

“Dr. Velázquez was the most qualified of all applicants and performed well in multiple panel interviews,” said Clark. “The interviewers overwhelmingly spoke highly of his responses and were impressed with his knowledge and care for public health and the wellbeing of our community.”

SRHD contracted with the recruiting firm Raftelis (formerly Novak Consulting Group) to conduct a nationwide search for the health officer position. Applicants were given until August 30, 2021, to submit their applications. There were eight total applicants. The recruiter then reviewed the applications with Clark, and it was determined that two applicants met the qualifications and were invited to interview in person.

Three panel interviews took place with SRHD joint management, executive leadership team members, and the BOH executive committee. An additional one-on-one interview took place with Clark. Clark noted this is the most feedback from the BOH, executive leadership, and management that the administrator has ever received in making a recommendation to the BOH for a health officer.

“It was very helpful to hear the feedback from health district employees representing multiple levels of management and a variety of public health programs,” Spokane County Commissioner Kuney, BOH Chair, said. “It was clear their input in the selection of a health officer allowed for the administrative officer to be confident in her decision. I am also pleased with the Board of Health’s unanimous vote in favor of hiring Dr. Velázquez. It signifies the board’s shared confidence and trust in Dr. Velázquez as our health officer.”

Velázquez accepted the offer and will transition into the permanent role immediately.

“When I joined the Spokane Regional Health District as interim health officer, I didn’t realize how much I would learn, how much I would grow to love the people, and how their passion for public health would inspire me,” Velázquez said. “I realized that I wanted to continue this journey and remain a part of the team here at the health district. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to do so.”

Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is a leader and partner in public health by protecting, improving and promoting the health and well-being of all people through evidence-based practices. SRHD is one of 34 local public health agencies serving Washington state’s 39 counties. Visit www.srhd.org for comprehensive, updated information about SRHD and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Like SRHD on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive safety and wellness tips.

Francisco Velázquez, M.D., S.M., F.C.A.P. most recently served as the Interim Spokane County Health Officer with the Spokane Regional Health District. Dr. Velázquez is very accomplished, and his background includes being the former President and CEO of Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories (PAML) and PAML Ventures, leading the Infectious Diseases Clinical Trials Division for Quest Diagnostics, Inc., as well as many other leadership roles in publicly traded companies. In addition, Dr. Velázquez has held numerous clinical, academic, and executive positions in healthcare systems, academic institutions, and integrated delivery systems. He is very active in the community as a member of numerous boards for professional and nonprofit organizations.