The El Paso County Board of Health has appointed Susan Wheelan to the position of interim director at El Paso County Public Health, effective September 1, 2018. Director Dan Martindale will retire from the position at the end of August after 23 years of service.
Wheelan has served as deputy director at El Paso County Public Health since January 2015. In addition to deputy director responsibilities, she has oversight of the Disease Prevention and Health Promotion division, which includes Communicable Disease, Epidemiology and Tuberculosis, Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership, Youth Substance Use Prevention, Teen Suicide Prevention, Child Fatality Review Team and Maternal Child Health programs.
Wheelan began her employment with the county 18 years ago as an Environmental Health Specialist. She established the Office of Communication and she has served as the agency’s communication director and public information officer. In addition, she has held roles as an administrative hearing officer, and program manager of the Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership. She secured funding to implement Public Health’s youth suicide and youth substance use prevention efforts, which are focused on population health strategies that involve building strong community partnerships. She has also led the quality improvement team’s activities to improve effectiveness and efficiency for the agency. Over the years, Wheelan also has served in numerous leadership roles specific to emergency response and preparedness activities. She led teams during training exercises and events such as the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest wildfires, H1N1 Influenza Pandemic, measles, and other emerging diseases (West Nile virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome) in El Paso County.
“I look forward to continuing our work addressing community health improvement priorities, such as mental health and substance abuse, emergency preparedness, and reducing health disparities in the community,” Wheelan said.
Wheelan holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, a master’s degree in Business Administration from Colorado Technical University, and is a graduate of the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute. Her additional training includes National Incident Management System courses and a master’s level certificate in Homeland Security Management.
Wheelan has served on several boards including Kidpower and the Southeast Family Center/Armed Services and Fountain Valley YMCA Advisory Board. She is also a member of various committees including the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials Legislative Committee, the Governor’s Retail Marijuana Education Oversight Committee, the Colorado Tobacco Review Committee, and is a member of the American Public Health Association, the National Association of City and County Health Officials, and the Colorado Public Health Association.
“With more than 18 years of experience in public health, Ms. Wheelan has a wealth of experience in multiple areas of the organization and is a demonstrated community leader. Her leadership and experience will support the agency’s mission and vision, and we are very pleased to welcome her to this new role,” said Kari Kilroy, president of the Board of Health.